Men’s basketball falls to Towson, drops to second place in CAA standings


Photo Courtesy Towson Athletics

Tyson Walker had a team-high 16 points but the Huskies still fell to Towson Sunday afternoon.

Eamonn Ryan, deputy sports editor

On a day that could have cemented Northeastern men’s basketball head coach Bill Coen’s status as a school legend, the Huskies (9-7, 8-2 CAA) faltered and lost by a score of 68-57 to the Towson Tigers (4-13, 3-9 CAA). 

Coen is currently sitting at 250 all-time wins with the Huskies, tied for first place with former NU coach and Naismith Hall of Fame member Jim Calhoun. With a win, he could have taken over first place in those rankings, but instead will have to wait as the Huskies could not pull out a victory today. Poor shooting hurt the Huskies, as they were only able to make 35.7% of their shots and went just 6-for-24 from three-point range.

“We showed our youth and inexperience this afternoon,” Coen said. “Would I like to change something? Yeah I’d like to make more shots.”

The Huskies started out with a good gameplan, finding open shots for three-point shooting forwards redshirt junior Jason Strong and freshman Coleman Stucke, but they were unable to execute, and Towson grabbed an early 9-4 lead just after five minutes into the game.

“Towson came out with a lot of emotional energy and we did not match that to start the game,” Coen said. “[We] dug ourselves a hole and made a slight run at it but not enough to make a difference in the game. You got to tip your hat to them, they played a very physical, aggressive style and we just didn’t handle it well.”

NU had numerous problems scoring the ball throughout the first half, going just 8-for-27 from the field and only knocking down 18.2% of their three-point attempts. Without any productive offense, the Huskies found themselves down 30-22 going into the half. NU was also outrebounded by 10 at halftime and only assisted on two baskets in the first, which severely hampered their ability to climb back into the game.

“[Towson] got way too many second-chance opportunities that were just energy plays,” Coen said. “That’s something if you expect to beat Towson, that’s going to have to be the first thing in the bucket: You have to rebound the basketball and we didn’t do a great job of that today.”

Towson started the second half by stopping the Huskies on numerous possessions and getting to the free throw line, extending their lead by two points to 40-28 with 14:35 left. The Huskies’ stagnant offense continued, as they were sitting on just 33 points scored with 11:30 to play in the game.

The Tigers then exploded, going on a 14-0 run to extend their lead to 57-39 off the back of stellar play from redshirt sophomore guard Nicolas Timberlake, junior guard Jakigh Dottin and sophomore forward Charles Thompson. With just over five minutes to play, the Huskies’ chances of winning looked almost nonexistent. 

Timberlake was the star for Towson, scoring almost at will with 22 points. He also got to the free throw line and shot 6-for-8 from the charity stripe.

“I think [Timberlake] played with a lot of emotion today, he didn’t have a particularly good game yesterday,” Coen said. “He’s a Boston kid; I think there’s always an extra bit of emotion when he and Jakigh Dottin, who played at Cambridge Rindge-Latin, play against Northeastern — they’re very familiar with a lot of our guys. He had a terrific game.”

After rattling off three straight treys, however, NU cut the lead to single digits with 3:31 to play and forced Towson to call a timeout to regroup. While the threat of a comeback was certainly real, the Tigers composed themselves and kept the Huskies at bay, closing out the game and taking a victory from the now-second-place team in the CAA.

Nothing seemed to go the Huskies’ way Sunday afternoon, as they only had six assists as a team as well, which is uncharacteristic considering they average just over 13 a game. Coen was unable to find any positives for his team right after the game, as he said that the Huskies found themselves on the wrong side of the game’s momentum.

“I’ll have to take a look at the tape to really dissect [the game],” Coen said. “We talk about on these back-to-backs, there’s the physical side, the mental side and the emotional side, and you have to win all three in order to win a basketball game…we just caught that emotional wave that they had and they played with much more intensity than we did for the full forty minutes.”

Only three scorers finished in double digits for the Huskies today. Sophomore guard Tyson Walker had 16 points and three assists, but also turned the ball over five times, while redshirt junior guard Shaquille Walters added 12 points and five rebounds and redshirt junior forward Jason Strong finished with 13 points and four rebounds.As the Huskies look to regroup, they have two weeks until their next game due to the cancellation of their series with UNC Wilmington next weekend. They will travel to William & Mary Feb. 27 and 28 to play their final scheduled series of the 2020-21 season.