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.