Telfort shines, but total team effort lifts men’s basketball over William & Mary


Krista Brochu

Junior guard Jahmyl Telfort dribbles the ball up the court. Telfort led the Husky effort against the Tribe Saturday afternoon with 28 points.

Eamonn Ryan, News staff

The Northeastern men’s basketball team (10-17, 6-10 CAA) must love home cooking, or at least playing in the historic Matthews Arena.

 The Huskies got off to a hot start and never looked back as they rolled to a 69-57 win over visiting College of William & Mary (10-19, 5-11 CAA) Saturday afternoon in a key conference matchup to determine playoff seeding.

 Northeastern opened its senior day game on a 14-2 run over the first four minutes, fueled by junior guard Jahmyl Telfort, who scored seven of his total 28 points in the early span.

 “We piggybacked on the energy and the emotion from the Monmouth game,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen. “We started the game really, really well and that set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon.”

The Huskies beat Monmouth 77-67 Thursday night to break a seven-game losing streak, but now they’re hoping they can build off this two-game winning streak as the CAA tournament inches closer and tournament seedings are solidified.

 “I can’t tell who’s in what position, but for us, we’re just focusing,” Coen said. “We’ll focus on the win today. The best thing we can do is win basketball games, and we had an opportunity to be here at home today and earn a victory.”

 Telfort’s 28 and the Huskies’ opening stretch immediately broke the game open, and they didn’t let up throughout the first half. They played the best team game they had all year in the first half, assisting on 11 of their 17 first-half buckets.

 “We were sharing the ball, playing team basketball, and whenever you do that, it’s not surprising that this happens,” Coen said.

 The Huskies also let it fly from beyond the arc and kept hitting, going 6-for-9 from three in the first. Freshman forward Jared Turner — who finished second in scoring for the Huskies — got all his 10 points before the break, hitting both of his deep ball attempts.

Northeastern went into the break up by 20, and it could have been easy for them to let William & Mary creep back into the game. The Tribe had a strong inside presence with junior big man Ben Wight going against the Huskies’ undersized junior forward Alexander Nwagha, but Nwagha fought hard and kept Wight in check. 

Nwagha, who has been a backup to redshirt senior Chris Doherty, started the game and played more than Doherty, as he grabbed seven boards, scored two points and had a huge block with five minutes remaining that emphasized his effort defensively.

 “[Nwagha] played really, really well today,” Coen said. “In the first half he set the tone, and then we needed a big stop, and he got a great block in the post on a really good offensive player down there.”

 The Tribe got as close as 11 points away in the second half before Huskies freshman wing Masai Troutman responded with a free throw and a bucket, and then Telfort came down in transition and popped two three-pointers that rocked Matthews and solidified the win with under three minutes to play and a 69-51 lead.

“[Telfort’s] such a calming influence,” Coen said. “As everybody knows, we have a young team and it can be combustible at times … [Telfort’s] able to step up, make a defensive play, or an offensive play when we need it, settle down the lineup with his communication; he’s got all the experience.”

 The young lineup shone today, however, and the future of the Huskies was on display. Turner and freshman guard Rashad King both started while graduating junior wing Coleman Stucke was out with an ankle injury. It might have been senior day, but the younger Huskies proved that they’re hungry, too.

 “You’re looking out there, Jared Turner’s not playing like a freshman anymore, Rashad King’s not playing like a freshman, Masai Troutman … came in, had a couple of big buckets and got us back on,” Coen said. “Those guys have all made some big strides and were in a contributing role today.”

 After four games in seven days, the Huskies will get a short five-day rest before heading to face Drexel in Philadelphia Thursday night at 7 p.m. in their penultimate conference matchup.