CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Alabama men’s basketball team fell to the Northeastern Huskies, 68-52, Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Charleston Classic which is being held in TD Arena on the campus of the College of Charleston.
Sophomore John Petty Jr. was the only Crimson Tide player to finish in double figured, collecting 17 points on the afternoon.
Alabama (2-1) trailed at the half, 33-22, and never came closer than seven points in the second half, while Northeastern (2-1) led by as many as 17 late in the contest.
The Crimson Tide struggled offensively, shooting just 37.3 percent (19-of-51) from the field and making only 3-of-19 (15.8 percent) of its shots from beyond the arc. On the other side, Northeastern shot over 50 percent from the floor (22-of-42, 52.4 percent) and from deep (9-of-17, 52.9 percent).
“First of all, you have to take your hat off to Northeastern,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “They played a balanced game today on both ends of the floor. I thought they did a good job of mixing up their defenses and shot the ball extremely well. We didn’t have our best day on either end of the floor. We knew what their strengths were on their team and they played to them and did it extremely well.”
Northeastern, which returns five starters and was picked as the favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association, got off to a hot start as it scored the game’s first eight points forcing a Crimson Tide timeout. The Huskies began the game hitting seven of their first 10 shots from the floor, while Alabama missed nine of its first 10 shots and never recovered.
The slow start to the game cause the Tide to play catch up, as Northeastern was able to extend its lead to 16-5 with 12:06 left in the half. Northeastern would go on to lead by 11, 33-22, points at half.
Alabama was able to cut the lead to seven points on two separate occasions, however, each time the Huskies had an answer each time. With UA trailing by a score of 44-37 with 14:25 left to play, Northeastern went on a 10-2 spurt over the next 3:38 to take a 54-39 lead. The Huskies knocked down 15-of-17 (88.2 percent) in the contest, preventing the Tide from getting within striking distance.
Alabama outrebounded the Huskies, 27-25, and forced four more turnovers (13-9) which resulted in a 7-0 edge in points off turnovers.
Junior Dazon Ingram finished with nine points and five rebounds off the bench, while sophomore Herbert Jones added eight points and three rebounds.
Northeastern was led by senior CAA Preseason Player of the Year Vasa Pusica, who finished with 20 points, five assists and three steals.
The Crimson Tide continues play in the Charleston Classic Friday afternoon when it faces Ball State at 12:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.