For the first time in school history, the Northeastern Huskies are CAA Champs, defeating William & Mary 72-61. They also ended their 26-year drought from the NCAA tournament, qualifying for an automatic bid.
Even though they had 22 wins walking into this game, they were still considered underdogs but they didn't play like it.
The Huskies got out to an early lead against the Tribe, starting the first 4 minutes with a 13-4 run. Quincy Ford, the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, went on a personal 7-0 run to start the game. He even came up with a big block on Terry Tarpey attempted dunk during the Tribes 7-2 run, which killed their momentum. He finished the 1st half with 15 points and was 3-3 from behind the arc, a lot more aggressive than the day before against UNCW.
Ford finished the game with 20 points.
Quincy came into March Madness locked in, after missing the tournament last season with an injury. After the game, during the press conference, I couldn't help but notice that he was still locked in.
I enjoyed watching him play this weekend, especially in the finals, and I can't wait to see what he do in the NCAA Tournament.
David Walker, who I think is the X-factor of this big three, finished with 15 points, 10 points in the 2nd half. This was an on going theme for Walker this tournament, who scored 27 of his 43 total points in the 2nd half, averaging 14 points, 5 boards, and 4 dimes for the tournament.
And the final piece of the Huskies' BIG 3, and most important in my opinion, is Scott Eatherton, finished with 12 points, shooting 5-6 from the field. Scott is the workhorse in the middle for the Huskies, also being one of the most efficient players in the tournament, shooting 72% from the field and 10-14 from the free throw line.
Two games in a row the Huskies won because of Scott's presence in the middle. Numerous times this tournament, Scott's teammates and coach declared him the hardest working man on the team and it showed today.
The Huskies had a 21-point lead, with 3 minutes remaining. Everyone, aside from The Tribe, thought it was over but W&M didn't go away that easy.
The Tribe went on a 16-0 run to make it 61-67 with 36 seconds remaining. During that run, the Huskies turned the ball over 3 times and missed 3 free throws while the Tribe knocked down 4 trey balls, Daniel Dixon and Marcus Thornton hitting 2 each.
Scott Eatherton would hit two free throws to end the drought, which sealed the game.
I really feel bad for the Tribe, who is one of two teams in CAA to never make it to the NCAA Tournament. This was the 2nd straight year the Tribe lost in the CAA Finals, which has to be heartbreaking. Senior Marcus Thornton, finished with 20 points, while Dixon followed with 15.
Omar Prewitt went 1-7 from the field, only scoring 4 points. The Huskies played some good defense on the Tribe, forcing them to take a lot of bad shots but the Tribe also had some shots that didn't fall for them, I counted a total 10 rimouts.
Next for coach Cohen and his Huskies is the NCAA Tournament. They will have to wait until Sunday to find out who they will play in the first round but I predict a 12-seed for them. I'm not sure how far they can go, but I think they will give that first round opponent a tough game.
Not many schools have 3 players with 1,000 career points like Ford, Walker, and Eatherton. The supporting cast with Calleb Donnelly, Zach Stahl, T.J. Williams, Reggie Spencer, and Devon Begley help compliment the Big 3 and can make big plays of their own. I would like to congratulate the Huskies on winning the CAA title and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.