Roland goes off for Huskies

Trans­fer’s ca­reer-high 34 sink Crim­son

Boston Herald - - SPORTS - By STEPHEN HE­WITT Twit­ter: @Steve_He­witt

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.”

JIM MICHAUD / BOS­TON HER­ALD

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.

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