By Torrance Latham
BU News Service
Caleb Donnelly’s 3-pointer with 16 seconds left lifted the defending CAA champion Northeastern Huskies to an electrifying 87-84 overtime victory over Boston University in the season opener at Case Gym on Friday night.
The perennial season opening matchup has developed into an exciting rivalry, with seven of the last eight meetings being decided on the final play of regulation or in overtime.
This was also the third consecutive overtime between these two teams at Case Gym.
Senior captain David Walker dominated after regulation, scoring Northeastern’s first seven points in overtime, finishing with a career-high 27 points (10-for-14 field goal, 5-for-8 from three), while also adding seven rebounds to lead the Huskies.
The Terriers played a balanced game offensively, as all of their starters scored in double figures. BU also posted 21 assists, with nine turnovers. The highest assists total last seasom was 19, which they accomplished twice.
BU Sophomore Cheddi Mosely led the way for the Terriers with 19 points (6-13 field goal, 5-of-12 from three). Mosely continuously ignited his home fans throughout the game, coming up with crucial shots whenever the Huskies appeared to take control.
“The crowd was a pretty big factor. Obviously when the crowd gets going, it’s a little bit easier to make those shots,” said Mosely. “I feel more confident. Also, it helps when you have a point guard like Kyle (Foreman) giving me the ball. I didn’t really have that last year.”
The points in the paint (28) and scoring off of turnovers (15) were equal. The Huskies held a 40-37 lead at halftime and led by as many as eight in the second half before the Terriers mounted their comeback.
The second half previewed the immense of the Terrier backcourt. In addition to a hot second half from Mosely, freshman Kyle Foreman made his first collegiate start, scoring 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting while also leading the Terriers with seven assists.
“Everyone else made it easy for me,” said Foreman. “They really spaced the floor and it was easy to find them. The seniors really set the pace at the beginning of the game and I was able to get it going.”
BU scored 11 straight points after falling behind 56-49 with 13:19 remaining in the second half. During that stretch Mosely nailed a pair of three-pointers and two free throws.
Senior forward Justin Alston’s layup with 6:52 to play gave BU its largest lead of the night 66-61, but the Huskies responded by getting to line. Northeastern made nine consecutive free throws down the stretch to stay afloat. NU forward Quincy Ford’s free throws gave NU a 77-76 lead in regulation with 1:29 to play. Goff made of 1-of-2 free throws on the following possession to tie it back up 77-77.
The Huskies blocked Mosely’s 3-point attempt with 32 seconds left and BU countered with a strong defensive possession of their own to force overtime.
“I’m just really proud of our guys,” said BU coach Joe Jones. “They showed resolve. They showed a certain level of toughness. I’m proud of how they competed. There were some eye popping things that I saw tonight that shows we’ve got a chance to be a really good team.”
Sophomore Nick Havener (9 points, 4-of-7 from the field) opened the overtime score. Walker answered with seven consecutive points to extend the Huskies lead. Trailing by five, 84-79, with two minutes left, senior forward Nathan Dieudonne grabbed an offensive rebound before being fouled. He made both free throws. After forcing a turnover on the following possession, Papale evened the game with 39 seconds with clutch three point basket.
Coming out of a timeout with just a few seconds left on the shot clock, NU managed find Donnelly in the corner, he pump faked the BU defender, and drained the game-winning shot.
Papale’s attempt to tie the game at the buzzer fell short.