Northeastern Huskies

2016 CAA Tournament: UNCW Ends Defending Champs Season

Only four schools have won back-to-back titles in CAA tournament history; Navy (1985-87) Richmond (1990-91), UNC-Wilmington (2002-03), and Old Dominion (2010-11). Northeastern was looking to be that fifth team to achieve the feat, but lack of paint presence and a division 2 transfer stopped the Huskies from playing for a consecutive CAA title. 

UNCW knocked off the defending champs 73-70 to advance to their first CAA title game since 2006. 

Like Hofstra, the Seahawks, avenged their semifinal loss, thanks to a Chris Flemings, a D-2 transfer from Barton College. Flemings led the Seahawks with 21 points, while shooting 4-5 from the three point line. 

Flemings also made the biggest defensive play of the day when he tipped a hail mary pass with 1.4 seconds remaining, the ball ended up landing in-bounds, which drained the remaining time on the clock. The referees reviewed the play, and many in the arena thought Northeastern was going to get one last opportunity to send it into overtime, but the replay confirmed that the ball did land in-bounds before going out of play. 

Northeastern was on the verge of of blow out midway through the 2nd half, going on a scoring drought that lasted over three minutes and committing 4 turnovers during that span. Inside the paint was a big problem for Huskies, who had to use 6’6 utility man Zach Stahl as their inside presence. The Seahawks took full advantage, using Devontae Cacok off the bench as the big man equalizer to the Huskies small lineup. 

Cacok grabbed 7 boards, 4 of which on the offensive glass. Cacok played a major role in the Seahawks 16-2 run during Northeastern’s scoring drought.

Denzel Ingram didn’t have a great shooting night but he did contribute 14 points and 8 assist. 

The Huskies did make a comeback to bring it down to one last possession. In the final two minutes they erased a ten-point deficit and was on the verge of shocking the Seahawks. In the final minute the forced two turnovers during the Seahawks attempt to inbound the ball. First they caused a 5-second then a steal, converting both turnovers into buckets. 

The Seahawks will get set to take on Hofstra who they split games with earlier this season, gaining victories on each other’s home court. This is also a rematch from the 2006 CAA Championship game, where the Seahawks defeated the Pride, TJ Carter winning Most Outstanding Player. It will be interesting to see how both teams come out with a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament on the line. 

 

 

2016 CAA Tournament: Northeastern advances to Semi-finals

“Last year we played in the #3 vs #6 matchup, the only thing different is we wore white jerseys.”

That's what Bill Coen, head coach of Northeastern, said about his team coming in as the lower seed. The Hukskies are the defending champs but only won 18 this season, which landed them the 6th seed in the conference tournament.

Seeding didn't matter for the Huskies, as they keep their season alive defeating the 3rd seeded Towson Tigers, 71-60.

“Our primary for the last three weeks was to really earn the bye and get out of that friday night game,” Coen said. We've been in tournament mode for the last three weeks. That's really made us stronger.

The Huskies went on a 6-game losing streak in the month of January which really put them in a tight spot but in the final six games of the season they went 5-1, which really prepared them for their quarterfinal matchup against the Tigers.

The first half was a back and forth battle between the two teams. There were seven lead changes in the and four ties. The Tigers controlled the paint early on, snatching 8 offensive rebounds in the first half and outscoring the Huskies 20-10 in the paint.

Timajh Paker-Rivera and William Adala-Moto were the enforcers down bottom for the Tigers. Adala-Moto finished with 18 points and 12 boards, leading the Tigers in both categories.

The Huskies dug themselves in an early hole also when they went 5-12 from the charity strike but still manage to go into halftime only down by 3 points.

The second half was a different story for the Huskies.

The Huskies opened the second half with two three pointers that gave the Huskies an early lead they wouldn't lose for the rest of the half. David Walker and Quincy Ford combined for 30 points in the second half, each contributing 15 points. The Huskies as a team shot 62% in the second half, 12-14 from the free throw line, and 4-7 from behind the arc.

While the offense was clicking for the Huskies so was the defense. The Huskies held the Tigers to under 40% from the field and 25% from behind the arc. Adala-Moto was the Tigers' only offensive threat in the second half, scoring 10 of the teams first 12 points, all in the paint. It wasn't enough for the Tigers.

Mike Morsell tried his best to start a rally for the Tigers, scoring 8 points in one minute span. Morsell finished with 16 points.

The Huskies will take on UNCW in the semi-finals, a rematch from last season.  

Huskies Punch Ticket for CAA Finals

I asked Northeastern Head Coach, Bill Cohen, how essential it is to have a big man like Scott Eatherton for this time of the year and the first thing I noticed before his answer was his look of relief. He would then go on to say that Scott has been that workhorse for them for the past 2 seasons and it's showing. Scott Eatherton scored 21 points and was 7-12 from the field, also 7-9 from the charity strike, in the Huskies 78-71 victory over the UNCW Seahawks. 

Scott production was on both ends of the court, also finishing with 3 blocks. Saturday night against the Blue Hens Scott only went 3-4 from the field finishing with 7 points. Tonight the big man started being aggressive early, leading the team at the half with 11 points. 

The Huskies are looking to end their 26-year drought of the NCAA Tournament, aiming for their first CAA title. Unlike Saturday, the Huskies needed their bench to provide some quality minutes and they did, outscoring the UNCW bench 33-10. Caleb Donnelly, Devon Begley, and Reggie Spencer all scored 11 points off the bench.

Donnelly, a former red-shirt walk-on, knocked 2 big three pointers, one of which that sealed the game for the Huskies with a little over a minute remaining in the quarter. Coach Cohen had good things to say about his junior guard in the press conference, saying that Donnelly "gets more out of 24 hours than most people get out of a month". 

UNCW I feel like had an opportunity to win this game, in fact, I think they should have won this game, until I noticed that Scott had 21 points and they were outscored in the paint 38-22. The Seahawks seemed to control the tempo of this game, making it an up-n-down game. Their guards out played the Huskies' guards, Jordan Talley, Spruill Addison, and Craig Ponder finishing in double digits. Addison did a great job guarding Quincy Ford, who on went 3-10 from the field and only scored 6 points. People like to say that guard play is what get you wins in March Madness but tonight that theory was proven to be wrong. 

The bigs of UNCW couldn't match Eatherton, Cedrick Williams and Chuck Ogbodo only combining for 10 points but 6 fouls., which is where you can say the Seahawks lost this game. CAA Finals will be tomorrow at 7pm. 

 

CAA Tournament: Huskies hold Delaware in thrilling finish

This was possibly the best game of the tournament so far. Northeastern and Delaware split the season series, each winning on the road. Northeastern came into this game as the #3 seed, also one of the 4 teams that finish with a 12-6 conference record, while #6 seed Delaware came in winning 6 out of their last 9 games. 

Huskies came out on top 67-64 in a game that came down to the wire. Huskies walked into the 2nd half with 35-31 lead that they some how managed to keep for the entire half. Delaware threatened that lead numerous times, tying it once early in the half and cutting it to 1 twice in the final two minutes. Huskies twice went up 8 and twice the Blue Hens cut it short. 

Sophomore guard, Cazmon Hayes scored all 9 of his points within the first 2 minutes of the game, tying the ball game at 40. Other role players like Zach Stahl of Northeastern (13 points, 6 boards, 5 dimes), and Barnett Harris for Delaware - who contributions doesn't show on the stat sheet - also provided big minutes. 

Delaware came within one, 60-61, with 2 minutes remaining in the game. Up to that point they had built some momentum, forcing 7 Northeastern turnovers and a couple big dunks from Marvin King-Davis. Unfortunately for the Blue Hens though, the refs would slow down that momentum with a very controversial "5 second to the basket" call on Kory Holden, that should have never been called. It's really disappointing when referees want to enforce their authority, which seemed to be the case in this game, not allowing the game to be play out on the court. 

The Huskies would score on the next possession, and the Blue Hens would score again to keep it at a 1-point game, but that controversial call stopped the bleeding for the Huskies, allowing them to regain their composure. Still the Blue Hens had opportunities, David Walker missing a free throw with 23 seconds left, giving the Blue Hens an opportunity to take the lead but Chivarsky Corbett missed the layup after Holden dished him the rock. Walker would hit his final four free throws to close out the game. He finished with 17, 3-4 from behind the arc.

Kory Holden led all scorers with 20 points, scoring 16 in the first half. I was impressed with the Maryland native, playing his high school ball in the Eastern Shore at J.M. Bennett, because of his composure throughout the game. Never did he seem rattle and he said in the press conference that he looked at it like another basketball game. As a coach you love to see that from your freshman point guard. I did want to see Holden take the final shot in those last two attempts but the young man was looking to give his teammates an opportunity, can't fault him for that.   

Northeastern will now play UNCW in the Semi-final round, which should be fun to watch. Junior Quicy Ford, led the team with 16 points and recently eclipsed 1,000 points before the tournament. Ford missed the CAA Tournament last season out with a back injury, and I can tell he is extremely motivated to finish this tournament strong. 

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