RICHMOND, Va. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ It was billed as the game of the Colonial Athletic Association regular season, and it delivered.
When the dust settled, Northeastern was left standing as the team to catch, outlasting Eric Maynor (Raeford, N.C.) and Virginia Commonwealth University, 68-63, before 6,847 Tuesday at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
The loss snaps VCUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s seven-game win streak and drops the Rams to 15-6 overall and 8-2 in CAA play. Northeastern improves to 14-6 and 9-1 in conference play. In addition to a one-game lead, the Huskies earned the tiebreaker over the Rams. VCU and Northeastern do not meet again this regular season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I guess we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t defend and rebound like we were supposed to,Ã¢â‚¬Â Maynor said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“All I can say is, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a good team and we feel like weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see them again.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Maynor led all players with 30 points, his fourth 30-point game of the season. Ultimately, VCU was unable to climb out of two double-digit deficits.
The Rams trailed by as many as 17 points, but were able to whittle the Huskie edge to just two on several occasions. However, Northeastern hit 9-of-10 free throws in the final 1:34 to stave off the Rams.
Eugene Spates and Manny Adako led the Huskies with 12 points apiece, while Matt Janning added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Sophomore Brandon Rozzell (Richmond, Va.) provided a career-high 16 points and five rebounds for VCU.
Northeastern outrebounded the Rams, 33-31 and knocked down 9-of-15 3-pointers.
The Huskies hit five of their first six 3-pointers in the first half to storm to a 30-13 lead with 4:35 remaining.
But VCU responded with a 17-4 burst, led by eight Rozzell points and a Maynor 3-pointer prior to the halftime buzzer, to cut the deficit to 34-30.
Northeastern opened the second period with a 15-3 salvo to push ahead, 49-33, before the Rams mounted their comeback. Maynor scored 18 of his points in the second half alone.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the end of the day, if we do the things we need to do as a basketball team, maybe the outcome is different,Ã¢â‚¬Â VCU Head Coach Anthony Grant said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Give Northeastern credit. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a very good team, the play extremely well together, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re well coached, and hatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s off to them for coming in here and getting the win.Ã¢â‚¬Â
VCU will regroup to take on Hofstra on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 12 p.m. in Hempstead, N.Y.