Northeastern Huskies On a Roll Entering the Thick of CAA Play

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IIJanuary 7, 2010

You had to know the Northeastern Huskies would not continue to amass losses. A 2-7 start was disappointing, surprising, confusing—whatever you want to call it—but the Huskies have figured things out.

Coach Bill Coen implements a starting lineup comprised of four seniors and one junior, and his team is finally playing like an experienced squad should.

Gone are the narrow losses of November and December. In are six consecutive double-digit victories—most recently, the Huskies acquired a five-point win at Virginia Commonwealth before returning to the Matthews Arena to rout George Mason by 25.

Seniors Matt Janning and Manny Adako have continued to perform at their typical levels, but Chaisson Allen's consistent offensive output and Nkem Ojougboh's dominant defensive presence have propelled the Huskies.

Throughout the streak, Allen has averaged 15.7 points and 3.3 treys per game. He poured in 20 points and drained six threes tonight against George Mason.

While Ojougboh has maintained his rebounding average of 8.3 per game, he has altered more shots during the streak, blocking 2.8 per contest.

As a team, the Huskies certainly don't suffocate opponents on defense, making Ojougboh's presence all the more valuable. Their 43 percent opponent field goal percentage ranks 10th in the CAA while their 37.3 percent opponent three-point percentage is the league's worst.

However, Northeastern wins by being more efficient than its foes, outscoring opponents by 0.29 points per shot in the last six games.

With the bulk of conference play remaining, the Huskies must develop a knack for winning games on the road, where they are 2-4. They have a must-win at Georgia State this Saturday before hosting Delaware and UNC-Wilmington.

Closing out January, Northeastern has a crucial three-game homestand. A tough VCU team will arrive at the Matthews Arena in search of revenge. Then, Drexel, who defeated the Huskies by two in early December, will travel to Boston on the 27th.

The anticipated showdown of the CAA's preseason No. 1 and No. 2 will occur on Jan. 30, when Old Dominion visits Northeastern. It will be the only regular season match between the two teams, and Northeastern should be relieved they will host the game—the Monarchs are currently 8-0 in their Constant Convocation Center.

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