Seahawks move into a tie for first place in the CAA

See two vines that WWAY posted from Saturday night.

WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — Senior guard Addison Spruill anchored four starters in double figures with 16 points to help UNCW pull into a tie with William & Mary for first place in the Colonial Athletic Association with a hard-earned 66-61 men’s basketball victory over Northeastern Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.

The Seahawks won for the third time in four games to improve to 15-10 overall and 10-4 in the CAA. The Tribe dropped to 16-9 and 10-4 following a 73-70 upset loss to Delaware earlier Saturday.

The Huskies stand 17-10 and 9-5 in the league and fell into a tie for third place in the circuit with James Madison. NU has now lost three in a row and four of its last five matchups with UNCW.

Combined with a 75-68 win in Boston back on Jan. 5, the Seahawks completed their first sweep of the Huskies since NU’s inaugural season in the CAA in 2005-06. The victory also guaranteed the Seahawks a winning regular season with just four games left before the CAA Tournament in three weeks.

Spruill scored 12 of his points in the first half to get the Seahawks going early and added five rebounds and three steals. Junior guard Craig Ponder added 15 points, freshman playmaker Jordon Talley chipped in 14 and senior guard Freddie Jackson contributed 10. Sophomore forward Chuck Ogbodo came off the bench to grab a game-high nine rebounds in just 18 minutes.

NU senior forward Scott Eatherton, the CAA’s field goal percentage leader, paced all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and collected eight rebounds. Junior guard David Walker was the only other Husky in double digits with 11 points.

“We came out on the winning end tonight because we made a few more plays than Northeastern down the stretch,” said first-year UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts. “These guys have learned not to panic.

“Give Northeastern a lot of credit. They came out in the first half and got us on our heels. We settled for a lot of 15-foot jump shots in the first half instead of getting to the rim. I wasn’t really happy with how we played in the first half.

“I felt like our defense got involved in the game in the second half. I’m proud of these guys because they finished at the end. We stepped up and knocked down free throws when we had to have them.”

Battling in an entertaining game before a raucous Homecoming crowd of 4,614 fans on Valentine’s Day, the two teams went back-and-forth throughout the night, with no more than eight points separating the clubs.

The outcome was still in doubt with seven minutes remaining when Walker scored inside to bring the Huskies within striking distance, 56-55.

But Jackson, UNCW’s leading scorer at 14.3 ppg, drained a triple from the top of the key – his only three-pointer of the game – at the 1:34 mark to extend the margin to 59-55 and the Huskies failed to cash in at the free throw line down the stretch. NU went just 6-of-14 at the charity stripe over the last seven minutes, while the Seahawks converted 7-of-8 free throws during the span.

After taking a 31-30 edge at halftime, the Huskies raised the margin to 37-32 early in the second half when Eatherton scored over Spruill inside with just over 17 minutes remaining. But UNCW responded by scoring eight of the next 10 points to pull even at 40-all on Ogbodo’s offensive rebound and putback at 13:19.

UNCW then used a 19-5 run to build a 51-45 advantage when Talley drove the left side and connected on a spinning layup with 8:31 showing. Walker then sparked a brief rally by the Huskies to cut the deficit to one point before a rough final seven minutes for Bill Coen’s club.

The Seahawks canned eight of their first 10 field goals to jump out to an 18-12 lead on Ponder’s slicing layup with 11:50 on the clock.

But the Huskies battled back and took their first lead of the game, 26-25, when reserve guard Caleb Donnelly found Eatherton in the lane for a short bucket with 2:35 left in the opening half. The Huskies then took a 31-30 edge into halftime when Walker dropped in the second of two free throws with two seconds left in the period.

The Seahawks open a two-game road trip on Thursday, Feb. 19, with a 7 p.m. matchup at Delaware. The Huskies, meanwhile, entertain William & Mary on Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Boston.

GAME NOTES: The Seahawks shot 49 percent from the field and 72.2 percent at the free throw line…The Huskies made 40.8 percent of their shots, but just 54.8 percent at the foul line…Three Seahawks wound up with four personal fouls…The scrappy Seahawks had 10 steals and seven blocked shots…NU had 13 assists on 20 baskets…There were six ties and five lead changes…The Huskies shot 13 more free throws than the Seahawks…UNCW improved to 8-10 overall and 5-4 at home on Valentine’s Day.

Categories: New Hanover, Sports

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