Boston, MA – The Northeastern Huskies defeated the Oakland Golden Grizzlies 92-83 at Matthews Arena. The Huskies jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half, ending the half up by 16 points. They made a big emphasis on denying Oakland three pointers and stayed down consistently on shot fakes. Their game plan broke down in the second half of the game, as the Golden Grizzlies made seven of their first 11 threes in the half and 9-of-15 overall. The three-point barrage helped cut the Huskies’ lead to a single point on multiple occasions. The big deficit faced by Oakland was a major factor as they ran out of energy and got outplayed over the final five minutes. Northeastern ended the night shooting 60.4 percent from the field as compared to Oakland’s 47.7 percent.
Northeastern was led by junior guards Donnell Gresham Jr. and Jordan Roland. Gresham Jr. did a fine job running the point in the absence of Vasa Pusica, the team’s starting point guard. He showed leadership at the position and did a nice job communicating with his teammates and the Huskies offense had terrific flow throughout the night. Offensively, the junior did a good job finding open spaces on the floor and knocked down 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, while showing off his smooth spot-up shooting stroke. When closed out, he drove the ball hard to the basket and always appeared to be in a position to shoot, even when he chose to pass the ball out. Defensively, he beat his man to the spot multiple times and made good reads that delayed the offensive motions of the Golden Grizzlies.
Roland, the team’s leading scorer, had another terrific shooting game. He made three triples from three different positions. One was made in a spot up, a second one after curling off a screen, and one more on a pull-up. He showcased an ability to finish around the rim while being creative with a weak-hand floater and a weak-hand finish over the top of a defender while drawing the foul. Roland finished the night with 20 points and three assists.
Junior forward Xavier Hill-Mais did his best to give Oakland a fighting chance in this game, with most of his damage coming in the second half. After a tough first half with just five points on 2-of-8 shooting, the Golden Grizzlies’ leading scorer poured in 17 points on 11 shots to go with four rebounds. He showed terrific toughness and physicality while getting the better of Huskies’ center Anthony Green. He constantly sealed Green in the post and went to work, at a point demanding the ball multiple possessions in a row. He did a good job scoring in the low post and drawing fouls. He also showed off his three-point range making 3-of-7 on the night, knocking them down on catch-and-shoot opportunities and out of pick-n-pop situations. Defensively, he did a good job holding his ground against the slightly bigger Green and forced turnovers on offensive fouls and steals. He also had a nice chase down block showcasing his athletic ability, but overall did not do much to affect Northeastern’s shot selection. Hill-Mais finished the night with 22 points, four rebounds and four steals.
Oakland’s junior guard, Jaevin Cumberland contributed on both ends of the floor, with most of his impact taking place in the second half as well. The guard recorded 19 of his 21 points in the second half, connecting on all five of his makes from beyond the arc. Cumberland was very engaged offensively, often sprinting down the floor and creating early scoring opportunities from beyond the arc. He appeared to show good knowledge of the team’s motions and got himself open looks as a result. In transition off a pair of steals he once created a scoring opportunity for his teammate by making a tough pass on the move and once pulled up from behind the arc and drained the three. Defensively, he sought opportunities to pick off passes and made good reads on the Huskies offensive schemes. He also pick-pocketed the Northeastern guards on a few occasions ending the game with four steals.
Looking ahead: Northeastern (5-5) will pay a visit to Vermont (7-3) in Burlington. Oakland (4-6) will continue their road trip at Hartford (3-7).
This article was written by Nadav Boker, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout apprenticeship program. For information contact us and forward your resume.