The news nationally was that Northeastern had ended the longest winning streak in men’s college basketball with a 75-61 victory over conference leader Hofstra on Saturday at Matthews Arena.
For Northeastern, however, the story was even more provocative and promising. After a disappointing start fed by a run of injuries, the Huskies, healthy at last, demonstrated that they may fulfill preseason expectations as favorites in the Colonial Athletic Association.
This was a crucial victory on a number of fronts. It was Northeastern’s sixth win in seven games, ranking the Huskies (7-3 in the conference, 13-9 overall) second in the conference in their race for a first-round bye in the conference tournament in March. It also served as a reply to their loss at the buzzer at Hofstra (9-1, 19-4 overall) in early January, while shutting down the Pride’s 16-game winning streak.
Northeastern’s most encouraging performance of the season was driven by Vasa Pusica, who provided a game-high 24 points with eight rebounds and two steals. Three teammates also scored in double digits, with two-way star Donnell Gresham netting four 3-pointers on his way to 18 points; Jordan Roland added 10 points as well as a pair of assists and steals each; and Bolden Brace generating his third double-double of the season (11 points, 10 rebounds).
Gresham helped limit the NCAA’s third-leading scorer, Hofstra senior point guard Justin Wright-Foreman, to 15 points, 11 below his season average. Gresham personally outscored the Pride 8-0 midway through the opening half for a 26-19 lead, and Northeastern would never trail again.
The Huskies will be expecting to build on this result with home games against William & Mary (Thursday at 7 p.m.) and Elon (Saturday at 4 p.m.). They are playing their best basketball at the right time—one month before the CAA Tournament in Charleston, which offers an NCAA Tournament invitation to the winner.