June 06, 2020
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Stingy Northeastern shuts down struggling Maine Bears lose fourth game in five outings

BOSTON – There would be no need for any Jose Juan Barea buzzer-beaters this time around. Northeastern University used balanced scoring, hot shooting, suffocating man-to-man defensive pressure, and intimidating interior defense to shut the University of Maine men down.

The Black Bears were never tied or ahead in a game Northeastern effectively dominated from start to finish. The Huskies avenged an earlier loss to the Bears in Orono impressively with an 82-51 win at Solomon Court Wednesday night.

“Their ball pressure to start the game was tremendous,” said Maine coach Ted Woodward. “They blocked a lot of shots. We missed a lot of layups and that had something to do with it.”

Northeastern’s fourth win over Maine in the teams’ last five meetings improved the third-seeded Huskies to 16-8 overall and 12-3 in America East. Maine is now 11-13 and 6-9 in the conference after suffering its fourth loss in the last five games.

The Huskies scalded the nets to the tune of 53.6 percent shooting from the floor for the game and their defense harassed Maine into shooting 30.6 overall.

Barea did have another good game against the Bears with 17 points and 12 assists, but it was more what he added to NU’s overall effort than what he did alone. With his ball distribution and NU’s defense, the Huskies were a handful of rebounds and one point away from having three players with double-doubles and one with a triple-double.

“Maine did a good job of getting back on defense and kind of corralling [Barea] near the rim,” said NU coach Ron Everhart, who notched his 15thcareer coaching win. “They did well not allowing him to make an early pass for an easy one or a late one.”

That was, until NU cranked up its already solid defensive effort late in the second half and turned Maine turnovers into easy points.

“Last time we played Maine, we didn’t do a lot of running and we weren’t moving and rotating how we normally do,” said freshman forward Shawn James. “We were way more active this time.”

Certainly James was with 10 points, 10 of NU’s 11 blocked shots, and six rebounds.

“It was ironic in that they took advantage of Shawn’s size in a different way early. When we had to play [Joe] Campbell, they moved him out and [Campbell] just barely missed some shots early on, which frustrated us,” Everhart said. “Now when Maine was forced to play big [lineup-wise] Shawn became a major factor and changed the game.”

Bennet Davis had nine points and 10 rebounds; Aaron Davis (no relation to Bennet) had 10 points and three steals off the bench; and senior guard Marcus Barnes, although he only had seven points, played superlative defense on Maine’s Kevin Reed.

“That was one of the key story lines of the night because we’ve always been bothered by Kevin Reed,” said Everhart.

Reed finished with five points and eight rebounds.

“This is the hardest I’ve had to work to get the ball this year, by far,” said Reed. “They stuck close. Every time I attempted a shot, they had a hand in my face.”

Maine was led by Campbell. The senior guard-forward from Bangor had his fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 boards. Senior forward Mark Flavin contributed 13 points and nine rebounds. Chris Markwood, playing with a strained hamstring and the effects of a still-healing broken left hand, had eight points.

Maine whittled the deficit down to single digits (nine points) in the first three minutes of the second half, but runs of 9-2 and 11-3 ballooned NU’s cushion to 23 points (69-46) with seven minutes to play and the Huskies never looked back.

HUSKIES 82, BLACK BEARS 51

Maine (11-13) Northeastern (16-8)

Player G AG F AF TP Player G AG AF TP

Hight 1 2 0 0 2 Barnes 3 10 7

Flavin 6 14 1 3 13 Barea 6 14 17

Reed 2 14 0 0 5 B. Davis 3 6 9

DuBois 0 5 0 0 0 James 4 5 10

Campbell 6 20 1 1 13 Kelly 5 6 13

Bruff 1 4 1 4 3 Popoola 0 1 0

Ahvenniemi 2 4 0 2 4 Kirkland 0 0

Harknell 1 4 0 0 3 Martinez 3 8

Markwood 3 5 0 0 8 A. Davis 4 10

Farmer 1 2 1 4

Coffey 0 0 0 0

Cole 1 2 2 4

Pinckney 0 0 0

Washington 0 0 0

Totals 22 72 3 10 51 Totals 30 56 11 18 82

Maine 28 51

Northeastern 41 82

3-pt. goals – Maine (4-13): Hight 0-1, Reed 1-5, Harknell 1-3, Markwood 2-4; Northeastern (11-25): Barnes 1-7, Barea 2-4, B. Davis 0-2, Kelly 3-3, Popoola 0-1, Kirkland 2-3, A. Davis 2-3, Farmer 1-2

Attendance: 1,026

Correction: A shorter version of this article ran on page C10 in the State edition.

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