Posts Tagged ‘Northeastern’

Under the Cuban sun: former Northeastern pg Marco Banegas-Flores transfers to UMass Lowell

Sunday, August 31st, 2014
Former Northeastern point guard Marco Banegas-Flores has transferred to UMass Lowell. OBW photo / Sam Perkins

Former Northeastern point guard Marco Banegas-Flores has transferred to UMass Lowell. OBW photo / Sam Perkins

The early summer heat rays of the Havana sun swelter Marco Banegas-Flores as he contemplates what the next step of his athletic — and overall professional — path will be.

Many people in Banegas-Flores’ position would be partying the Cuban nights away; the dream of walking the stage and grasping an undergraduate degree from Northeastern has just become a reality for the Dorchester-native.

But instead of sporting a Cubano and trumpeting his achievements, the point guard has come to a decision that has been more than a year in the making: After graduating from Northeastern in just three years, Banegas-Flores will return to the basketball court to play out his final year of NCAA eligibility, and in doing so he will pursue a master’s degree.

But that basketball court will not be century-old Matthew’s Arena, whose ancient steel beams and iron girders Banegas-Flores has called home for his entire college career. Instead, he will bring his skills to tiny Costello Gymnasium and state of the art Tsongas Arena of UMass Lowell, where he will play for former Northeastern assistant coach Pat Duquette.

On Aug. 29, Duquette announced Banegas-Flores would be the River Hawks newest player, joining the team as a graduate-transfer.

The addition of Banegas-Flores gives a Lowell team with only one other true point guard on the roster – incoming freshman Lance Crawford — an experienced upper-classman who can provide guidance to the River Hawks six incoming freshman guards, and experienced, heady play at the point.

“It’s a good situation for us. We’re in a much different situation than Northeastern right now,” the second-year head coach said. “We’re building this thing from scratch; we’ve got a lot of young players.

“I need somebody with experience. I need somebody with toughness. Those are the things that stand out the most to me. His potential leadership ability as well.”

The situation seemed just as good for the former Husky. Marco knew his long-term goal was to play professional ball somewhere in the world. It was in the second of his three-year career at Northeastern, a year in which he went from filling in at starting point guard to fighting for minutes off the bench, that he realized staying with Northeastern may not allow him to reach that goal.

“I just realized with what I want to do going further after college, which is professional basketball, I needed to make a move,” Banegas-Flores said. “For me, it wasn’t going to happen at Northeastern. For a number of reasons, I just felt in my heart it wouldn’t happen at Northeastern.”

When he first started meeting with Banegas-Flores in early August, Duquette expected that additional playing time was one of those reasons. He will likely get that too. While Duquette said it was too early to determine his upcoming rotation, he did say that Banegas-Flores’ improved skills will open up on-court opportunities.

“He’s been coached by Bill and his staff for more than three years and I know the great job they do identifying and developing players,” Duquette said. “I knew Marco, but I feel after his experience at Northeastern, he’s going to be even better than when I coached him.”

Having a previous relationship with Duquette, whom he said he felt closer to than any of his other coaches at Northeastern, also reaffirmed Banegas-Flores decision.

“We kind of forged a relationship,” Banegas-Flores said. “I felt more comfortable with him than any of the other coaches on [Northeastern’s] staff. To be able to do that in a limited amount of time meant a lot to me and spoke to his character.”

But it was Banegas-Flores’ academic reason for transferring which impressed Duquette above all others. (more…)

Heaven is a Playground: FIBA 2014 team preview — Puerto Rico

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

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Columnist Noah Perkins will be covering the 2014 FIBA World Cup for One-Bid Wonders. Leading up to the Aug. 30 tip-off, he will be previewing all 24 qualified teams.

Back when Jason Biggs and Ja-Rule were popular; when the preferred search engine of the masses was Alta Vista and the Dell Guy was part our collective consciousness; a little Puerto Rican kid was lighting up the local college basketball scene.

Of course, at the time, nobody in Boston actually considered Jose Juan Barea a legitimate NBA talent – shit, nobody in Boston even knew who he was.

Well, I should say nobody who didn’t pay attention to the tiny America East conference knew who he was; AE fans knew him he as “the asshole on Northeastern.”

One of my favorite Boston-centric sports moments happened during the 2003 America East Basketball tournament; I was there with a group of my buddies.

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It played out like this:

Friend: “Barea, you suck!”

Townie sitting behind us: “Hey kid, you wanna’ go ta’ cahlegge?” (*Editor’s note: That’s “go to college” in Boston-townie vernacular).

Friend: “Ummm, yea.”

Townie: “Then be mower creative; Barea doesn’t suck!”
(Editor’s note: that’s “more,” once again in townie vernacular.)

Friend (without missing a beat): “Barea, you’re a genital wart!”

From that day on I’ve always thought of JJB as The Genital Wart.

(Editors note: Barea went off for 38 in the America East quarterfinal, drilling the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left. The next day he melted down in a loss to Boston University, picking up a tech for slapping an opponent after getting called for a charge).

The universe is funny I suppose: Who would have thought 10 years later, said genital wart would be an NBA Champion, riding a seven-year NBA career, and the boyfriend of a former Miss Universe (or the ex-boyfriend of said former Miss Universe and current boyfriend of another former Miss Universe contestant, depending on what Spanish gossip column you read).

Just as Barea continues to ascend to highs previously not thought possible, Puerto Rican national teammate Renaldo Balkman has slummed it up in the basketball gutter. (more…)

Scott Eatherton is never satisfied

Friday, April 18th, 2014
In his first season at Northeastern, center Scott Eatherton finished fifth in the nation in double-doubles. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

In his first season at Northeastern, center Scott Eatherton finished fifth in the nation in double-doubles. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Scott Eatherton is in a familiar place with a familiar sense of discontent.

The place is Cabot Gymnasium, the only court the Hershey-native shot a basketball on during the 2012-13 season as a result of transfer legislation. Just like that year, the only sounds that can be heard in the hollow gym are the center working out with his heavy ball and directions from an assistant coach.

And while Eatherton’s first real season with the Huskies resulted in him leading the team in scoring, field goals-made, rebounds, leading the CAA in blocked shots and even landed him a spot on the National All-Defensive team, he once again enters Cabot knowing that he and the team have something to prove.

“Right after the season we didn’t really have a good understanding about where we were going and I feel like now the team does,” Eatherton said. “We know what we want to do next year so I feel like we’ve had three weeks of good workouts and good lifts and we’re moving in the right direction…I had a lot of time to watch March Madness and just think about that and it really just made me miss playing and it was kind of like motivation to get ready for next year.”

The team’s mediocre record (11-21, 7-9) and early semi-final exit to the eventual CAA champion Delaware, did not reflect the career numbers Eatherton put up on a consistent basis. His 15.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 1.8 bpg (all career highs) earned him CAA defensive player of the year, a spot on the CAA All-tournament team and a finalist spot for National Defensive Player of the Year (eventually won by Louisiana Lafayette’s Elfrid Payton).

Eatherton, who finished fifth in the nation in double-doubles, even caught the attention of a NU basketball hall of famer Dan Callahan (class of ’95), who holds the NU record for most rebounds in a season (364), ranks second all-time in school history with 1,007, and is regarded as the greatest rebounder in Northeastern history.

“[Some of my friends around the program] were like ‘they finally found another you: a big, white rebounder,’” Callahan laughed. “But honestly, I think he (Eatherton) is a lot more advanced and can do a lot more with the ball than me on offense: He’s got a great touch, finishes with both hands, can shoot the ball all the way out to the 3-point line. I just dunked the ball and knocked people over.” (more…)

Comeback Huskies: Northeastern erases 20-point deficit for thrilling 62-59 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

New Orleans – In a city that knows best about making a powerful comeback, the Huskies made a rally of their own against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a 62-59 win at Tulane University.

Northeastern (3-8) had to overcome a 20-point deficit and one of the worst first half performances of its season in order to get the win in the Tulane Holiday classic.

“We know the game’s 40 minutes long and we’ve been down and come back before and guys in that locker room believe that we’ll always have a chance if there’s time on the clock,” coach Bill Coen said.

Red-shirt junior Scott Eatherton scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for another double-double. Junior Demetrius Pollard also scored in double digits with 11 points.

Senior Jordan Aaron led the Panthers (9-4) in scoring with 14 points. The 5-foot-10 point guard also pulled down 8 rebounds. Sophomore Matt Tiby and senior Kyle Kelm added 11 points each.

After only scoring 17 points in the first half – the team’s lowest since 2011 – a difference could be seen in the Huskies’ swagger as soon as they came out of the break. Co-captain Reggie Spencer immediately got the team going with a emphatic dunk along the baseline.

With a 36-19 lead, Tiby, the Panthers leading scorer on the season, then committed his third foul, sitting him for nearly 9 minutes.

“Reggie got us going with that dunk at the start of halftime and everybody got in and chipped at the lead and we were lucky to come out with a victory tonight,” Coen said. (more…)

Cummins into his own: Harvard reserve forward enjoys breakout week

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

(Boston, MA) — With 2:33 left in his team’s matchup with Northeastern, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker called a 30-second timeout.

Evan Cummins walked to the huddle, leaned forward and placed his hands on his knees.

Cummins couldn’t have expected to be that tired. How could he? Before he arrived at Matthews Arena that Wednesday afternoon, the reserve forward was averaging less than seven minutes a game against Div. I competition.

But when Cummins walked to the huddle with 2:33 to play, he was pushing 20.

“I was definitely tired at that last timeout,” Cummins said. “That’s for sure.”

When it was all said and done, Cummins played a career-high 21 minutes. And Harvard needed all of them. Otherwise, the Crimson might not have left Matthews Arena with a win.

Cummins wasn’t the Crimson’s leading scorer or its second-leading scorer, but his 10 points, six rebounds and his interior defense pushed the Crimson over the top in a 72-64 win.

“Certainly it was a needed effort for our team here this evening,” Amaker said.

Entering Wednesday’s cross-town showdown, Cummins had never played more than 17 minutes in a game. In fact, before Harvard’s blowout win over TCU in the final of the Great Alaska Shootout Sunday, the sophomore had scored just 15 points in his entire career. Two games later, Cummins has more than doubled his career total. (more…)

Mass. Basketball tips off at the Boston Garden — site of opening triple-header

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

By Martin Kessler

Harvard forward Jonah Travis should be a favorite to win the Crimson's dunk contest on Friday, Oct. 18. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Harvard forward Jonah Travis should be a favorite to win the Crimson’s dunk contest on Friday, Oct. 18. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

The head coaches from Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, and Northeastern gathered in a large room tucked beneath the bleachers. Just outside, a fresh layer of ice was freezing on the surface of the rink at the center of the cavernous arena. The Boston media swarmed.

The scene looked familiar on Thursday morning at the TD Garden—the site of Boston’s annual college hockey Beanpot. But when all 6 feet 9 inches of UMass forward Raphiael Putney walked through the door into the Legends Room, it became quite clear that the crowd wasn’t there for hockey.

On the cusp of the start to the 2013-14 college basketball season, representatives from Holy Cross, UMass Amherst, and UMass Lowell joined their peers from the Boston area’s four Division I programs for the third annual Commonwealth of Massachusetts Media Day.

In a city known for its historic college hockey rivalries, college basketball is looking to establish its own tradition in Boston. For now it will settle for sharing center stage.

The TD Garden—site of the hockey Beanpot since the arena opened in 1995—will host a college basketball tripleheader on Nov. 10 featuring matchups between Boston University and Northeastern; Holy Cross and Harvard; and Boston College and UMass.

“We’re trying to see if we can gain some traction and some momentum for college basketball in the New England and Boston area,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker explained. “We think it has an opportunity to carve out a little bit of a niche a la what the Beanpot has done in hockey. You know that’s been going for years and years and years, but we think this is the right time.” (more…)

Profoundly Personal

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
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New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion (Photo by Sam Perkins)

(Boston, MA) – For New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion, this was personal.

One game after becoming the all-time leader in America East wins with the 153rd conference victory of his career – a dramatic 92-86 overtime thriller over visiting UMBC – Herrion watched as his Wildcats reverted back to their losing ways; chucking up three’s, forcing shots and stumbling to a 68-56 road loss to Boston University in a game that was never close.

It was the 134th meeting between the two schools, who date back as founding members of the ECAC North Conference – the predecessor of the present America East – in 1979. It’s been a rivalry akin to that of a hammer and a nail, with the Terriers owning a 96-38 record in head-to-head matchups.

With Boston University leaving the America East for the Patriot League at season’s end, the game marked the end of an era – and a 33 year partnership that survived three different conference incarnates – for the two schools, and the final time they would meet as conference foes.

Following the final buzzer, for Herrion, the magnitude of the moment went far beyond the game, the rivalry, or the season: It was far more than a tough, old-school head coach taking another one on the chin in a year full of lumps, or the New Hampshire program once again being pummeled by a team that has used it as a perennial punching bag.

For Herrion, it was a trip to his former home and a place that will forever hold special significance in his heart. It was at Boston University where Herrion, a native of Oxford, Massachusetts and Merrimack College graduate (1981), got his start, being hired as an assistant under then-Terriers head coach Mike Jarvis in 1985.

“I spent five years here as an assistant from 85 to 90, with Mike Jarvis – he was the head coach,” reflected Herrion. “My five years here as an assistant, we never played a game here in the Roof [Case Gymnasium]; we used to play all the home games in the Walter Brown – in the rink.”

“We went to two NCAA Tournaments, we went to an NIT; We played Providence in the NIT here when [Louisville head coach Rick] Pitino was coaching at Providence and [Florida head coach] Billy Donovan was playing,” he explained.

In his first two years as a Terrier, Herrion was immediately thrown into the fire of the BU-Northeastern rivalry, losing back-to-back conference Championships to the Huskies.

“My first two years here at BU in 85-86 and 86-87, we lost in the finals to Northeastern. You don’t even realize what the Northeastern-BU rivalry used to be – it was big time,” he emphasized. “[late NBA great] Reggie Lewis was at Northeastern and they beat us our first two years here in the finals to go to the Tournament.” (more…)

Reactively Proactive: UMass Lowell to join the America East

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

(Lowell, Massachusetts) – Sometime soon – maybe in as little as a few hours, maybe as long as a couple of days – it will be officially announced that the University of Massachusetts Lowell is making the jump from Division II to Division I Athletics and will be joining the America East as a full conference member.

You hear that? It’s the sound of the deafening silence that has enveloped the America East ever since Northeastern ditched the league for the Colonial Athletic Association in 2005 being shattered by a solitary golf-clap.

In all seriousness, I’m happy to hear the news – dare I say, downright excited. (more…)

A Game for the Ages

Thursday, January 24th, 2013
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Northeastern point guard Jonathan Lee beat the first half buzzer on this jumper to give the Huskies a 34-19 first half lead over William & Mary. The Tribe came storming back in the second half, forcing a fist and subsequent second overtime before finally falling 95-91 (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Boston, MA) – Sometimes, no matter what the scoreboard says, there are no losers.

On Wednesday night, a surging Northeastern squad and a stumbling William & Mary team took the floor between the steel beams and wrought iron girders of historic Matthews Arena – the oldest sports arena in the world. The Huskies raced out of the tunnel onto their home court riding a six game winning streak and stood atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings at a perfect 6-0. William & Mary stepped onto the hostile hardwood losers of seven in a row and 1-6 in conference play; second to last in the 11 team CAA.

But for 50 minutes of game time, the two squads played as equals, engaging in one of the most epic battles and grittiest, hardest fought and flat out best games you’re likely to see at any level of ball. The game featured break-neck-paced runs and slow, methodical ground based attacks; high-flying dunks and long-bombs from well behind the arc, as well as dirty work battles in the trenches below the hoop; offensive outbursts and suffocating defense; and enough tilt-a-whirl emotion and momentum swings to leave the teams, coaches and fans in attendance staggering.

Both teams were knocked down, and both pulled themselves back up off the mat and continued the frantic fight.

In the end, Northeastern emerged with a 95-91 double-overtime win. William & Mary certainly didn’t lose.

“I said to my players after the game, there’s a real mixture of feelings in me right now: Deep, sincere anger at the way we played the first half of this ballgame and great pride, great pride, in the effort and character they showed in responding to a pretty good challenge at halftime,” said William & Mary head coach Tony Shaver.

“There were a lot of mistakes in the second half, but what a really admired was the mental toughness and togetherness we displayed,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen.

Senior guard Joel Smith led the Huskies, tying a career-high scoring 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Senior point guard Jonathan Lee added 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting while playing all 50 minutes of game-time.

“I thought it was the mental toughness of our senior back court, and particularly Joel Smith, who stepped up possession after possession and made huge plays for us,” said Coen.

Freshman guard David Walker missed his first two shots of the night for the Huskies but didn’t miss again, scoring a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting including 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Forwards Zach Stahl and Quincy Ford added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Tribe were led by junior forward Tim Rusthoven, who for 38 minutes was the best player on the floor. The 6’9” banger scored 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds, five blocks, two assists and two steals. Rusthoven played a huge role in neutralizing the Huskies’ frontcourt of Ford and Reggie Spencer, who shot a combined 4-of-21 from the floor. (more…)

Too Little, Too Late For Northeastern

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Editor’s Note: The 2012-2013 season is a season of transition for OBW as we move towards becoming a multi-mid-major site. While our focus remains on the America East, we will cover non-league games from time to time in anticipation of our site expansion next season.

Tight Quarters: Northeastern point guard Jonathan Lee drives through a swarm of UNC Asheville defenders on Tuesday. Lee was playing in his first game of the season, after missing the Huskies' first eight games due to a preseason foot injury. In his season debut, the 6'2" senior scored 19 points and dished out five assists, but the Huskies fell 79-73 (Photo by Sam Perkins)

Tight Quarters: Northeastern point guard Jonathan Lee drives through a swarm of UNC Asheville defenders on Tuesday. Lee was playing in his first game of the season, after missing the Huskies’ first eight games due to a preseason foot injury. In his season debut, the 6’2″ senior scored 19 points and dished out five assists, but the Huskies fell 79-73 (Photo by Sam Perkins)

(Boston, MA) — Too little, too late.

Trailing 71-57 with 3:52 remaining 3:52 remaining in Tuesday’s matinee against UNC Asheville, the Northeastern Huskies came alive. Powered by frenetic energy and anchored by reserves – most notably walk-on forward Chris Avenant – Northeastern unleashed a five-man defensive furry, using a frenetic trap-and-press defense in the back-court to defect passes and force turnovers, keying a 9-0 run.

Northeastern’s chopped a 14-point deficit with less than four minutes remaining to just five with 1:16 left. Guard Joel Smith capped the run with a left-corner 3, bringing the boisterous crowd of 2,134 – made up almost entirely of Boston area public school students – to their feat, as the volume at Matthews arena reached a deafening level.

But the Huskies had already dug themselves into too deep a hole, and their valiant comeback effort came up just short. Northeastern got as close as four in the final minute – fighting tooth-and-nail until the final buzzer – but two huge rejections from 6’10” Ashville reserve center D.J. Cunningham on a crucial possession with under a minute remaining slammed the door shut, and Ashville hit eight free-throws to close out the game and survive with a 79-73 win.

“Quite simply, I thought UNC-Asheville was just a notch tougher than we were today,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen.

Senior Jeremy Atkinson, a 6’4” 220 pound tank of an undersized-forward, led the way for Ashville, scoring 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, while pulling down a game-high nine rebounds and adding four assists. Power Forward Jon Nwannunu scored 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting in just 18 minutes, shooting guard Keith Hornsby (the son of Grammy-award winning musician Bruce Hornsby) scored 15, and forward Will Weeks added 14 on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting. Cunningham added 5 blocks, eight rebounds, and seven points in 26 minutes off the bench for the Bulldogs.

Ashville shot 54.5 percent from the floor (30-of-55), and played bully-ball in the post, scoring 46 points in the paint (compared to 32 by the Huskies), and turned 14 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points (Northeastern scored just 8).

“It seems like they got to the loose balls and offensive rebounds. I know we gave up a ton of points on second-chance points, and I thought their physicality, particularly around the rim, earned them the victory.”

Tuesday afternoon marked the return of senior point guard Jonathan Lee, who began the season ranked second all-time in school history in both career free-throw percentage and career three-point percentage. Playing in his first game of the season after suffering a preseason foot injury, the 6’2” Lee scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting while dishing out five assists, but appeared to still be getting his legs under him.

“Obviously, Jon’s a good player. I think he played a good game, but for us to be a really good basketball team; he needs to play great games for us,” said Coen. “He only had a week or so of practice in live scrimmage situations, so his timing is still not where he would like it to be. His mind is willing, but his body is a little bit out of synch. He’ll get back to that rhythm.” (more…)