The Huskies up in the Northeastern-most corner of the Colonial started their conference play with eight-straight wins, including two over the second-best team in the conference. They seemed unstoppable. But after eight wins, there were eight factors that brought them to their knees at home.
This evening marked the end of Northeastern's eight-game win streak in the Colonial Athletic Association as they fell to Georgia State in a hotly contested, offensively efficient thriller of a game.
Eight games is a long time to go without a loss. To put it in perspective, the Huskies hadn't lost in 25 days. They almost ran the table in January, waiting until the penultimate day of the month to finally give out.
(Great timing. Now I can't say "Winuary" or any other winning month-related puns.)
But, since eight is such a grand number, I want to look at the eight factors that led to the Huskies' demise Wednesday evening.
1. R.J. Hunter was on top of his game. 27 points, five assists, four rebounds, 55.02 percent efficiency. In essence, his performance was the polar opposite of his performance at Drexel on Saturday. When Hunter starts rolling, the Panthers are a force to be reckoned with.
2. Where art thou, Quincy Ford? Or, rather, where wert thou tonight? Three points on 1 of 5 shooting is entirely unacceptable when you're trying to fend off a high-scoring opponent, especially after six straight games of double-digits.
3. You have to hold on to the ball to win games. Unfortunately for Northeastern, each of their starters had at least one turnover. The team as a whole committed 16, the highest total for the Huskies since December 18.
4. Crash the boards, young Huskies! The Panthers had four players with at least four rebounds tonight. You know how many the Huskies had? Just Reggie Spencer.
5. Allowing a 15-6 run in the first 6:05 of the second half is the kind of thing that loses games, Northeastern
6. We need more power! As in, defensive power. The Huskies were severely lacking in defensive power, allowing the most points in regulation since CAA play began. Allowing the Panthers to score 13 more points more than their season average doesn't help the cause.
7. Poor play calling in clutch situations. With the Huskies down two with just 20 seconds remaining, the play drawn up was to get it Jonathan Lee. Great decision on the personnel, but having him get the ball at the elbow with defenders draped all over him (and then his decision to actually take the shot) could have used some extra thought.
8. They were simply outplayed. Statistically, Georgia State outplayed Northeastern in every box score column but blocks, and that was only by one. When you're completely and totally outplayed, you typically don't deserve to win; only in cases of superhuman performance is it different. Tonight, no Husky stood out from the red and black mass.
And that's how Northeastern fell in CAA game number nine. Still the heads of the conference, it will be interesting to see where they go for their next eight games. Another eight-game streak? Husky fans can only hope.