by JOSHUA KUMMINS
BOSTON — Playoff time is approaching across the local college sports scene and things will be no different on Wednesday night on a busy night of basketball.
While Northeastern’s hockey squad took a big step just to stay in the Hockey East postseason picture with an overtime win at UMass on Tuesday, the Husky hoopsters search to clinch at least a share of their first conference regular-season crown since 1993 when they host the James Madison Dukes (16-12, 10-5) in their only meeting of the season in the Colonial Athletic Association tonight at Matthews Arena.
Previously, this match-up has been dominated by the Huskies as they hold a 10-3 advantage in the all-time set, including a 3-1 mark in games played in Boston. On Jan. 7, 2012, NU earned a 68-56 victory on the road in Harrisonburg, Va.
In last season’s contest, the Huskies held the CAA’s most prolific three-point shooting team to one conversion and was led by 20 points each from current sophomore Quincy Ford and senior captain Jonathan Lee.
The Huskies enter the contest with a 17-10 record and are 12-3 in the CAA – both the highest marks for the program since 2009-10 (20-13, 14-4).
Senior captains Joel Smith and Lee, who will be playing in the second-to-last home game of their careers, lead NU in scoring with 16.3 and 13.8 points per-game, respectively. Additionally, the Huskies lead the CAA in scoring offense, three-point field goal percentage and steals as a team.
The visiting Purple and Gold sit two games back of NU in the CAA standings and with the contest serving as the only head-to-head match of the season between the sides, the result will be very important at season’s end.
JMU enters Boston (for the first time in three years) with a two-game winning streak in tow and comes off a dramatic 72-71 win Sunday night at Delaware. Freshman guard Andre Nation converted a game-winning dunk off a in-bounds lob from redshirt senior Devon Moore with one second left.
Rayshawn Goins leads the team in scoring with 13.8ppg for the season, but Moore has guided the charge of late with an average just under 17 points over the last five games for fifth-year head coach Matt Brady, including 19 with four rebounds and six assists on Sunday.
Wednesday night’s game will be televised along the East Coast on Comcast SportsNet’s New England and Mid-Atlantic affiliates with Al Koken and former Boston Celtic Walter McCarty on the call.
Additionally, the game also marks the return of BSU18’s own Joseph Kuykendall, who is in his first year as team manager at JMU, to Matthews Arena. After spending last season on press row covering NU’s run to the CAA Tournament in Richmond, he will make his home for the night behind the visiting bench – a short diagonal glance away from his seat last year.