BOSTON, M.A. (UNCW release) - High-scoring senior guard Jordan Roland poured in 17 of his game-high 27 points in the first half to help Northeastern earn a split of the regular season series with UNCW in a 71-63 victory over the Seahawks on Thursday night at historic Matthews Arena.
The Huskies improved to 12-13 overall and 6-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association, while the Seahawks fell to 8-19 and 3-11.
“We just had a tough night scoring,” said Rob Burke, UNCW’s interim head coach. “I know we’re going to have some nights like this. We spotted them 10-0 and had a burn a timeout. Transition defense was critical. We had non-existent defense tonight.
“They’re a good team and I knew they would be ready for us. I knew they would be fired up. We just didn’t have it tonight. We’ll get back to the drawing board.”
The explosive Roland, the nation’s fourth leading scorer, went 8-of-15 from the floor and 10-of-13 at the free throw line for his game-high total. Junior forward Maxime Boursiquot added 12 points, senior guard Bolden Brace had a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds and junior forward Shaquille Walters contributed 10.
Sophomore forward Marten Linssen paced the Seahawks with a career-high 20 points, surpassing his previous career-best of 19 points vs. JMU on Jan. 2. Sophomore forward Jaylen Sims added 17 points off the bench and sophomore guard Brian Tolefree wound up with 13 – all in the second half.
The Huskies capitalized on another slow start by the Seahawks to build a working margin en route to a 34-24 halftime lead. NU then held off the Seahawks, leading by as many as 18 in the final period, to avenge a 76-74 overtime loss to UNCW on Jan. 18 at Trask Coliseum.
NU scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second half to increase its margin to 44-26 on a conventional three-point play by Boursiquot at the 16:09 mark.
The Seahawks chipped away at the deficit and got within 10 points several times before making a late charge. A 9-0 spurt in the final minute helped UNCW climb within, 69-61, but Roland, one of the top free throw shooters in the CAA, closed the door in the remaining seconds.
Both teams got off to a sluggish start, combining for just one field in their first 10 field goal attempts, before the Huskies – behind Roland – broke out. Roland finished the first 20 minutes with 17 points on 5-of-10 from the floor and 6-of-7 at the charity stripe.
The Seahawks missed their first seven shots and committed four turnovers over the first five minutes and the Huskies capitalized. NU jumped out to a 10-0 advantage and led by as many as 14 points until UNCW cut into the big deficit.
After junior guard Ty Gadsden drained his second straight three-pointer for UNCW, the Huskies used a 5-0 mini-run and Boursiquot’s free throw at 6:50 gave NU a 24-10 advantage.
A triple on the right wing by Sims with 2:57 left in the opening frame closed the gap to 28-20, but Roland answered with a pair of buckets and took a 10-point lead into the break.
The Huskies shot 48 percent on the night, including 50 percent in the second half. The Seahawks ended up shooting 39.2 percent after connecting on just 36.4 percent in the first half.
The Seahawks conclude their regular season road schedule on Saturday with a 4 p.m. tilt at CAA frontrunner Hofstra (19-7, 10-3).