Northeastern moves to 3-0 on Canada trip with 80-66 win over McGill University

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Three games into a seven-game tour of Canada and Bill Coen’s Northeastern Huskies are still undefeated.

Reggie Spencer led a balanced attack on Sunday with 14 points and seven rebounds as the Huskies beat McGill University 80-66 in Montreal.

Spencer and Joel Smith combined to score 25 points off the bench for the Huskies, who play the University of Ottawa on Monday night, and Quincy Ford added ten points to lead the starters.

Northeasters controlled play in the first and fourth quarters, holding the Redmen below the ten-point mark in each of those periods.

For the game McGill shot just 35.3% from the field and 9-for-29 from beyond the arc, and Northeastern was able to force them into committing 21 turnovers.

“Obviously we’ve got some things to work on but I was pleased with our progress today and it was great competition for us,” said Coen in a post-game interview with McGill communications officer Earl Zuckerman.

“McGill made a great run at us and you got to expect that if you are… playing on the road. That the home team is going to make a run at you. I was proud of our guys the way we were able to withstand that run and come back with a run of our own to push the game to our favor.”

Northeastern outscored the Redmen 44-22 in the paint and the bench held a 43-23 advantage thanks in large part to Spencer and Smith, but McGill did account for 17 second chance points and out-rebounded the Huskies 45-40.

Northeastern is a young team heading into the 2012-13 campaign, with just two seniors and two juniors (Saint Francis (PA) transfer Scott Eatherton has to sit out this season) available, so this trip will give them valuable on-court experience.

In a CAA that will be without VCU (Atlantic 10) and Georgia State, ODU, Towson and UNCW all ineligible for the league’s automatic bid, there’s an opportunity for the Huskies to make a move despite Drexel being the team pegged by many to win the league.

The Huskies return their top four scorers from last season, but the key for Northeastern will be how well they control the defensive glass (11th in the CAA in opponents’ offensive rebounding percentage) and take care of the basketball (11th in turnovers per game).

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?