Sumpter slams 39 on Northeastern in 74-55 win

James Evans

On a team that is made up of primarily sophomores and freshmen players it was a sophomore player who stepped up against Northeastern Friday night, in the Villanova’s 74-55 win. Sophomore Curtis Sumpter had the collegiate game of his career so far, scoring 39 points on 16 for 20 shooting from the field and grabbing nine boards to help the ‘Cats to the victory.

“Curtis was great tonight,” head coach Jay Wright said, “I just think his teammates did a great job of reading the defense and getting him the ball.”

The 39 points was the most scored by a Wildcat, since Kerry Kittles had 44 on February 28, 1995.

“Of the four freshman last year [Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Jason Fraser, Sumpter] I think he[Sumpter] struggled the most last season,” Wright said. “But I think he had the most trust in the coaches and really worked hard in the off-season.

The win was the third straight for the ‘Cats, who are know 6-2 and will have a 10 day break, until hosting Columbia.

‘Nova started fast, opening the game on a 12-2 run in the first five minutes, in which Sumpter scored 10 points. The ‘Cats then cooled down letting the Huskies score 5 straight points, but then once again went on a 16-2 run to push the lead to 28-9.

However, as ‘Nova has done for most of the season they did not finish of the first half strong, allowing the Huskies to come back and to cut the lead to 13 at the half, 34-21.

The ‘Cats were able to hold on for the second half, and eventually pull out the victory, the closest the Huskies would get is 41-34, before ‘Nova went on a 13-4 run and put the game away.

The most impressive stat of the night, other than the 39 points by Sumpter, was the 22 assists the team had on 29 field goals. Mike Nardi led the team with seven, while Foye and Ray both pitched in with six.

“That [the assists] is big for us,” Wright said. “We are starting to play well together, we had 18 turnovers, but that [the assists] is great for us.”

While ‘Nova looked strong Friday, no one could outshine the play of Sumpter. No one on Northeastern could stop him and it seemed that every time he got the ball he was going to find some way to put the ball in the basket.

Northeastern was making an effort to shut down Ray and Foye and not letting them beat it from the outside. However, shutting down Foye and Ray opened up the game for Sumpter to take advantage.

“They were denying Randy and Allan, so I had to step it up and knock down my shots,” Sumpter said. “After I hit my first couple of shots, it forced them [Husky] to step up and I was able to take the ball to the basket more.”

The other important part of the game was when Fraser got his first minutes of the year. He played nine minutes in the game and was active blocking two shots in the game. However it was clear that he was still trying to recover from the injury, and Wright wanted to make sure that he didn’t want to push him too early.

“I didn’t want to play Jason more than 10 minutes tonight,” Wright said. “I really played him so he could get a feel for it, because he hasn’t done anything since the 17 h.”

The ‘Cats take a break for the week, however return to the hardwood just before Christmas for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off against Columbia at the Pavilion Nov. 22.