Princeton opens their home slate tomorrow night versus Northeastern and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from WRBB radio was kind enough to tackle our questions about the Huskies for the latest edition of Know! Your! Foe!.
We already have someone lined up to talk Rutgers basketball on Thursday but if you cover any of the other teams the Tigers will be facing in 2012-13, get in touch!
What did Friday's one point victory over Boston University tell you about the Huskies that you didn't already know heading into the season?
With such a close game, the obvious thing that stood out to me is that the entire team, from starters to the eighth man, came out ready to compete through adversity. No one shied away the moment, whether it was a captain like Joel Smith or an unlikely hero in Demetrius Pollard. The expectations for this team are very high and everyone on the bench came out ready to get their crowd behind them. To get more specific, I was surprised with the amount of times Joel Smith took over ball handling duties in the absence of Jon Lee. He’s usually more known as a guy who contributes as a spot-up shooter, coming off screens.
Sounds like it was quite the finish! Can you fill people in on how it all went down?
It was an amazing finish. With just over a minute to play, BU’s Malik Thomas hit a corner three to give BU a one point lead. It looked like they were going to come away with it after they came up with a steal on the next possession and Travis Robinson drew a foul, sending him to the line. With the entire crowd on the edge of their seats, Thomas went one for two at the line, allowing Coach Bill Coen to call a time out and draw up an inbounds play to send the game into overtime or win the game with a three.
A hard screen by Reggie Spencer allowed Pollard to be WIDE OPEN at the top of the three-point line and Marco Banegas Flores could not have hit him with a better pass. The shot went down, and pandemonium began.
It seemed like Northeastern was potentially going to take a step forward in the CAA this year. How badly does this team seem miss injured leading returning scorer Jonathan Lee?
I think they’re still going to take a step forward. While Jon Lee is a huge part of this team, he’s only expected to miss about four more weeks, which would have him back just in time for CAA play.
While the expectations are high for Northeastern, it’s unlikely they are going receive an at large bid, so really they should be focusing on CAA play and going far in the tournament.
Who has stepped up in Lee's place?
In the coming weeks, it’s going to take more than one player to fill the void. Marco Banegas Flores took the starting point guard duties on Friday, and did fairly well even though he did not play much in the second half, due to Pollard’s great defense on D.J. Irving. If I had to point to one player though it has be Joel Smith. In preseason, we predicted that Marco would have to step up in terms of running the half court offense, but Smith (five assists) proved against BU that he’s willing to adjust his game and make plays for his teammates.
Can you tell everyone a bit about senior guard Joel Smith and sophomore Quincy Ford? I remember both as being pretty dynamic based on last year's game Matthews Arena.
These are two of the arguably best players on this team, especially with Jon Lee being out with injury. Joel Smith is a co-captain and three year starter of this team, who’s established himself as one the best shooters in the CAA. He’s a guy who likes to come off screens and make teams pay from behind the arc, but with Jon Lee out he’ll need to go beyond a one-dimensional offense, which he showed he could do against BU.
Quincy is a member of the great rookie class and one of the best surprises from last season. At times, he was the best player on the court for Northeastern last season. He’s got the size of a power forward and the skills of a guard, making him a match-up nightmare of opposing teams.
What does this team do well?
Look out for a lot of zone defense. Coach Coen loves the 1-3-1 zone and it’s become the foundation for the team’s half court defense. As far as offense they love to work inside out to free up their shooters, especially with the improved post game from sophomore Reggie Spencer.
Fill in the blanks! Someone's going to be 2-0 at the end of Tuesday night. That team is Northeastern if...
...they limit turnovers and establish the low-post offense with Reggie early on.
Princeton finishes the neutral-home-and-home trifecta...
...by killing the Huskies on the boards.
Thanks so much, Zolan. If you're coming to the game make sure to say hello!