Men’s basketball gives up big lead, loses to Georgia


Harriet Rovniak

The Huskies lose the lead to Georgia in second half, ending the game 58-76.

Eamonn Ryan, deputy sports editor

A 21-0 Georgia run in the second half erased any hope of a Northeastern victory Tuesday night in Athens, Ga. The Huskies had a 13-point lead going into halftime, but could not get the job done as they lost 75-58. 

The Huskies scored 45 points in the first half on 9-13 three-point shooting, but only scored 13 points in the second half. They turned the ball over 20 times and secured 11 less rebounds than the Bulldogs, who dominated in the second half after a shaky first frame. 

“We were challenged every step of the way,” head coach Bill Coen said. “Every cut, there was a body on, every dribble there was a body on, they were climbing the glass…they just did a really nice job bringing the fight to us.”

Sophomore guard Tyson Walker and freshman forward Jahmyl Telfort were major contributors for the Huskies, Walker finishing with 19 points and six assists and Telfort with 15 points but also five turnovers. Redshirt junior Shaquille Walters, the team’s secondary ball handler after Walker, also finished with four turnovers.

“Our secondary ball handlers have to get better,” Coen said. “Tyson had his way in the first half, was able to split ball screens and everything else. [Georgia] had a strategy to go at him and try to foul him out of the game and make somebody else handle it. So our other guys have to grow and learn in that role and do a better job taking care of the basketball.”

While the second half was disastrous for the Huskies, the first half was one of their best of this early season. On fire from three, Telfort did not miss a shot and the Huskies forced ten turnovers, and they jumped out to a 45-32 lead at the half.

“We executed [in the first half],” Coen said. “We got really good spacing. When we got into the paint, we knew they were going to take charges so we emphasized getting two feet down and making passes rather than trying to score over them…I thought the second half we got sped up and guys got into the lane and didn’t look to spray it, but the first half we got in and we made really good plays.”

A key moment in the second half came when Walker picked up his fourth foul with 12:41 to play. Coen was forced to take Walker out of the game, and without him to lead the Huskies down the floor, Georgia capitalized, jumping out to a four-point lead before he could come back in with 9:14 showing on the clock. 

“You’re trying to hang on and buy some time and let the other guys, see if they can hold the game where it was,” Coen said. “But the game started to slip so we decided to take a chance. Whenever a guy gets in foul trouble like that, it messes with their mind a little bit. They’re afraid to pick up their fifth so they don’t play as hard on the defensive end. We gotta be a little bit more disciplined and stay out of foul trouble. We had too many guys in foul trouble, even in the first half.”

Foul shooting was another key distinction between the two teams Tuesday night, as Georgia shot 17 free throws while NU shot a total of four. Coen was animated on the sidelines and showed signs of frustrations with referees.

“It was a big thing about freedom of movement and guys being able to pass and cut and move without a body on them, and I didn’t feel like that was the case for much of the second half,” Coen said. “It’s effective, it slows us down, it slows our ball movement down…[I was] just trying to defend my guys in a very spirited game.”

For Georgia, graduate student forward Andrew Garcia led in scoring with 15 points, but sophomore forward Toumani Camara, graduate student forward P.J. Horne and sophomore guard Sahmir Wheeler all finished in double figures. The Bulldogs were quick in transition and scored 22 fastbreak points, but also gathered 14 offensive rebounds and scored 18 second chance points.

Next on the Huskies’ schedule is their first CAA conference game against Elon Jan. 2, but Coen said they are still searching for one more non-conference game before the new year.