January 4, 2010
NORTHEASTERN SLOWS DOWN RAMS EN ROUTE TO 62-57 VICTORY
RICHMOND, Va. – It was like déjà vu all over again for any Virginia Commonwealth University basketball fans that attended last year’s knock down-drag out contest between Northeastern and the Rams.
The Huskies (7-7, 2-1 CAA) slowed down the fast paced VCU offense and Manny Adakogave the Black & Gold fits en route to a 62-57 win at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. Northeastern remains the only team to beat the Rams (9-3, 1-2 CAA) in the past 23 home games (21-2).
“All the things that I was proud about with the way we played Saturday are the same things that I’m disappointed in tonight,” Head Coach Shaka Smart said. “They were tougher than we were, they were more resilient and it showed.”
Adako led all scorers with 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking a shot. Chaisson Allen was the scoring threat from the outside, knocking down four three-pointers and finishing with 17 points and seven assists.
For the Rams, juniors Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) (right) and Joey Rodriguez (Oviedo, Fla.) (top) were the only players in double-figures with 12 points apiece. Rodriguez dished out seven assists and picked up three steals, while Sanders grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots.
It looked like trouble from the start of the contest when Northeastern jumped out to a 7-0 lead thanks to four consecutive VCU turnovers.
After Smart called a thirty-second timeout, the Rams rallied quickly for a 21-4 run sparked by three treys from junior Brandon Rozzell (Richmond, Va.) (left). Four consecutive points by junior Jamie Skeen (Charlotte, N.C.) gave VCU a 28-19 advantage with just under four minutes to play.
Adako would not let the Huskies go away with four points to end the half and send the teams into halftime with the Black & Gold leading 28-25.
The end of the first half gave Northeastern momentum into the second half as the Huskies ripped off a 23-12 run capped off by a Matt Janning jumper to give the Huskies a 48-40 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
VCU would claw within one, but would get no closer thanks to big time shots by Nkem Ojougboh and Adako that kept the Rams from regaining the lead.
“I really thought this was a snapshot of how every league game will be this year,” Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen said. “It was a tough, hard-fought contest that both teams battled their hearts out and we were fortunate enough to come out on the winning side tonight.”
The Rams will have less than 48 hours before their next contest, which takes them to Philadelphia, Pa. to battle the Dragons of Drexel University in a 7 p.m. contest on Wednesday evening.
“We have to take this and learn from it and then move on,” Sanders said. “We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves. It’s about learning from our mistakes and getting better each day.”