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Long distance helps Northeastern hoops stop James Madison for 7th straight win

January 8, 2017 GMT

The Northeastern Huskies shut off the perimeter and forced 19 turnovers that led to 17 points in a 64-54 victory over James Madison last night at Matthews Arena, extending their win streak to seven games.

Senior point guard T.J. Williams led the way with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Alex Murphy netted 15 points and five boards. The Huskies (11-5, 4-0), in a three-way tie with Charleston and UNC Wilmington atop the Colonial Athletic Association, will look to extend the streak to eight games when they host Drexel on Thursday.

“It’s game by game and it’s a long season,” said NU coach Bill Coen. “To be out 4-0 we are grateful, but we have a long way to go and a lot more to do to compete for a championship.”

The Huskies shot 19-of-51 (37.3 percent) from the floor overall and were 9-of-29 from behind the 3-point arc; they broke the school record with 17 treys in Thursday’s win against Delaware. NU needed a collective defensive effort that included 30 rebounds and 17 made free throws to beat the Dukes (5-12, 3-1).

“They scored a bit around the rim but I thought we defended the 3-point line really well and we created some turnovers that got us into transition,” said Coen.

“We played enough gritty man-to-man to get the job done tonight. I said to the guys, ‘Not every game is going to be like Delaware .?.?. where every ball was going in.’ I thought we had really good looks in the first half, but they didn’t go.”

Sophomore forward Anthony Green made an alley-oop dunk and Devon Begley drove the lane to put NU in front 34-23 — its first double-digit lead — with 18:05 remaining. The Dukes responded with a 9-1 spurt, with Yohanny Dalembert (16) accounting for seven points from the low post. After going 0-for-5 from behind the arc in the first half, Bolden Brace busted the Dukes run with a deep 3-ball from the top of the key.

Brace added another deep ball on a 10-1 NU run that made the score 45-23 with 9:38 on the clock. JMU cut the lead to six before a 12-4 response finished the visitors.

“No question those were big 3’s during that spurt and we needed him to step up,” said Coen.

“We just stayed in the moment because we knew they were going to go on ball runs and we were going to go on runs,” said Williams. “I think when they had their runs we stayed calm and together and made basketball plays.”