Northeastern ends UNCW's season in CAA tournament semifinals

Northeastern ends UNCW's season in CAA tournament semifinals
UNCW cross country and track and field head coach stepping down (Source: UNCW)

CHARLESTON, SC (WECT) - Northeastern's pivotal first half run coupled with its dominant second half offense and UNCW's lackluster shooting ended the Seahawks' season at the Colonial Athletic Association basketball tournament on Monday.

The Huskies moved on to the CAA final against the College of Charleston with a 79-52 victory over UNCW in North Charleston Coliseum. Charleston beat William & Mary 83-73 Monday afternoon in the other semifinal.

Vasa Pusica scored a game-high 20 points for Northeastern (23-9), which took its biggest lead on a Derrick Cook layup that made it 76-46 with 2:33 remaining.

Devontae Cacok led the Seahawks (11-21) with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Cacok's layup at the 8:04 mark ended a scoreless drought of 6 minutes, 27 seconds for UNCW, but it only momentarily stemmed the Northeastern tide as the Huskies outscored the Seahawks 43-25 in the second half.

"It wasn't much of a game tonight. Northeastern took it to us from the go," UNCW coach C.B. McGrath said. "We didn't have much in the tank to battle back, but you have to give them credit, they are a really good basketball team.

"I liked our matchups. We had played well against the teams in our half of the draw. I thought we would make a run, and we won one game and got to the semifinals, but it was short of our goal (of) getting to the championship game because you never know what can happen."

Jaylen Fornes, who finished with 11 points, scored nine of UNCW's first 16 points and the Seahawks led 16-12 with 11:34 left in the first half.

Cacock was whistled for his second foul at the 9:54 mark with Northeastern leading 17-16.

A Marcus Bryan free throw tied it 17-17 with 9:27 left in the half, but the Huskies reeled off a 15-0 run capped by a Maxime Boursiquot layup that made it 32-17 at the 5-minute mark.

The Seahawks responded with a 10-4 spurt and Talley's 3-pointer with 12 ticks remaining cut Northeastern's lead to 36-27 at the break.

UNCW hit only 29.9 percent (20-of-67) of its shots from the field and went 6-of-20 (30.0 percent) from 3-point range.

One night after tying a CAA tournament record with 37 points in a win over Hofstra, Seahawk senior point guard Jordon Talley scored just six points on 2-of-12 shooting in his final collegiate game.

The Huskies hit 46.9 percent (30-of-64) of their field goal attempts, including 11 makes from beyond the arc.

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