Northeastern runs past UNCW in CAA tourney

Seahawks finish season 11-21


Travis Stoker | The Seahawk

Noah Thomas, Sports Editor

UNC Wilmington’s season boiled down to one stretch of poor play.

A comeback win against Hofstra in the CAA Tournament quarterfinals had fans hoping for another victory and, consequently, a third consecutive trip to the tournament’s championship game.

But No. 2 Northeastern proved too much for the Seahawks. During a five-minute stretch in the first half, the Huskies got too far out in front of UNCW for the tournament’s No. 6 seed to make another comeback in a 79-52 final.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a game tonight,” said UNCW coach C.B. McGrath. “Northeastern took it to us from the go; we didn’t have much in the tank to battle back. You’ve got to give them credit, they’re a really good basketball team.”

Free fallin’

Marcus Bryan hit a free throw at the 9:27 mark in the first half to tie the score at 17.

Northeastern (23-9) proceeded to go on a 20-2 run over the next five minutes – a stretch in which UNCW shot 1-of-13 from the floor. This stretch, as was the case for most of the game, was marred by poor shot selection on the Seahawks’ part.

The Huskies kept Jordon Talley, who scored a CAA Tournament record 37 points on Sunday, to just six points on 2-of-12.

“The majority of the credit on Talley could go to Shawn (Occeus),” said Northeastern coach Bill Coen. “He harassed him from baseline to baseline, did a great job of getting into his shot pocket … all his shots were contested.”

Things didn’t improve for the Seahawks in the second half. Their opponents shot 55 percent from the field, while UNCW shot a hair under 30 percent.

Another 18-2 run by Northeastern put the game away with plenty of time left on the clock, going up by as many as 30 points. It was a season-low in points in a half for the Seahawks (25) and low for total points in a game.

Out of gas

The spark that drove Talley’s historic performance 24 hours prior was nowhere to be found on Monday. It could be attributed to equal parts Northeastern’s defense and tired legs.

After all, the senior did play 61 of a possible 80 minutes of basketball in less than a day’s time. But Talley wasn’t the only Seahawk to run out of gas on both ends of the court – fellow guards Ty Taylor and Jaylen Fornes combined to shoot 7-of-24.

It was no secret that Talley, known for his effort and heart on the court, wanted things to end on a more positive note.

McGrath had nothing but love for his floor general.

“He gave everything he had every game to UNCW for four years,” he said. “That’s something that everyone will always remember Jordon Talley for and that’s how I would want to be remembered.”

For the second night in a row, Devontae Cacok came just one rebound short of a double-double. The nation’s leading rebounder finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.