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Are the Huskies peaking just in time?

Northeastern is peaking at the right time. The Huskies ended the nation’s longest winning streak with a 75-61 victory over conference leader Hofstra on Saturday at Matthews Arena. Photo by Jim Pierce.

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.

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