Roland goes off for Huskies
Transfer’s career-high 34 sink Crimson
After Jordan Roland shot poorly in Northeastern’s season-opening loss to Boston University on Tuesday, coach Bill Coen chalked it up to rust, considering his new guard hadn’t played a game in more than a year.
Roland didn’t need long to shake it off.
After sitting out all of last season as a transfer, the former George Washington guard shot 3-for-11 (1-for-7 on 3-pointers) in a close loss to the Terriers.
He responded with a monster game, scoring a careerhigh 34 points, including going 7-for-10 from long range, as Northeastern took down Harvard, 81-71, last night at Lavietes Pavilion.
“I was joking that I got all of my misses out in the first game,” Roland said.
With leading scorer Vasa Pusica struggling, Roland was responsible for picking him up. The Huskies trailed by 10 early in the first half before finally waking up.
Roland was the fuel, as he buried a pair of treys as part of a 14-0 run to give Northeastern life, and he scored 23 of his 34 in the second half to close the win.
“He’s one of those kids that scoring comes very naturally for him,” Coen said. “As soon as he sees the ball go in the basket, he’s liable to make two or three in a row, and you saw that tonight. We needed every bit of his effort. I was really proud of him.
“The first game out against BU, I think he had the year off, the rusties, and played just a little anxiously and maybe a little bit too quick. Today he was a lot more settled.”
Coen didn’t seem surprised by the outburst. He said Roland scored 20 in a half during a scrimmage.
“He’s demonstrated the ability to score the ball,” Coen said. “Obviously you never count on a guy getting 34, but that’s what he does, and he just played his game at a high level tonight.”
Harvard was missing two of its stars, Seth Towns and Bryce Aiken, who both are out indefinitely with injuries, but coach Tommy Amaker was not happy with his team’s defensive effort. He said 3-point defense was an emphasis, but Northeastern was 13-for-23 from deep, with more than half coming from Roland.
“He got going, and they looked for him, and he was certainly feeling it,” Amaker said of Roland. “He looked like he was in that zone.”
The Huskies scored 11 points during the first 13 minutes before going on the 14-0 run in 1:53 to take the lead. Coen said the difference was going to a smaller lineup, which featured Roland coming off the bench. He hit a pair of triples during the run, which gave Northeastern its first lead since 2-0.
In the second half, it was more Roland. Northeastern took a 58-50 lead before Chris Lewis went on his own personal 7-0 run to bring back Harvard back within one. But the Huskies responded. Roland hit a fallaway 3 in the corner that made it 63-59, and he made all three free throws after getting fouled from deep that made it 67-61 with 2:49 remaining.
After Christian Juzang made a 3, Roland found Anthony Green for a dunk, and Donnell Gresham’s tri- ple with 1:16 sealed it.
“I just feel like when I see a couple go in, I get pretty confident,” Roland said. “I wasn’t very confident in the first 10 minutes of the game, but I feel like my teammates did a good job of realizing I was hitting shots and trying to find me and draw up plays to me and stuff.”
Coen was proud of the way his team responded after the loss to BU.
“I was just happy to see that resiliency,” Coen said. “Obviously we had a tough loss opening night. I told our guys, ‘Hey, it’s one game, it’s not going to define our season. Let’s just focus on playing our brand of basketball.’
“Guys came out and really exemplified that this evening, and I think that’s what produced a win.”
IN THE ZONE: Jordan Roland (right) drives past Corey Johnson for two of his career-high 34 points in Northeastern’s 81-71 win against Harvard last night at Lavietes Pavilion. The Huskies evened their record at 1-1 after an opening night loss to Boston University.