Huskies and Tribe meet for CAA crown

Mar 9, 2015 - 2:40 PM Baltimore, MD ( - An automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is on the line at Royal Farms Arena on Monday night, as the top-seeded William & Mary Tribe clashes with the third-seeded Northeastern Huskies in the title game of the 33rd annual Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

In a revamped CAA, there are just three current members of the league that have won this event and none of them are still standing. William & Mary, which has lost twice as many games in this tourney as it has won over the years, made it to this final stage by defeating Elon (72-59) in the quarterfinals on Saturday, and then turning the trick versus Hofstra in double-overtime on Sunday by a score of 92-91.

As for the Huskies, a squad which played in the championship round two years ago and lost to James Madison by double digits, they are here following a 67-64 victory against Delaware on Saturday and a 78-71 triumph over second- seeded UNC-Wilmington yesterday.

These teams met twice during the regular season, with each winning on its home floor, as the Tribe buried Northeastern in the first meeting back on Jan. 24 by a 78-62 margin, while the Huskies returned the favor the following month in Boston, 75-64.

Northeastern played well across the board versus the Seahawks, shooting 48.2 percent from the floor, including 7-of-14 behind the 3-point line, and converting 17-of-21 at the free-throw line in the triumph. Scott Eatherton tallied 21 points, leading five players in double figures as he connected on 7-of-12 from the floor. David Walker, Reggie Spencer, Devon Begley and Caleb Donnelly all dropped in 11 points as well for a squad that held UNCW to just five offensive rebounds.

Perhaps most surprising about the Huskies is that they've managed to keep the same starting five for all but just one game, which has allowed Eatherton to find the opportunities to generate 14.6 ppg and pull down 6.4 rpg, which is also tops on the unit. Walker and Quincy Ford check in with 13.3 and 10.1 ppg, respectively, as the group produces 68.5 ppg.

William & Mary, which lost in the CAA Tournament championship game last season to Delaware (75-74), didn't let a close call this season work against it, instead the Tribe timed it right to claim a one-point win versus the Pride. Marcus Thornton, who set a tournament record with 37 points, converted 13- of-29 from the floor, including 6-of-15 behind the 3-point line, adding six rebounds, but it was Daniel Dixon (six points) who hit the game-winning three in the waning moments of the second overtime. Omar Prewitt added 33 points and Terry Tarpey logged a double-double consisting of 12 points and 10 boards in the triumph.

The leading scorer for the Tribe in each of the last three outings, Thornton is putting up 19.9 ppg as he shoots 40.5 percent from 3-point range, pushing the team as a whole to 40.1 percent accuracy on the outside. Prewitt (13.7 ppg), Tarpey (11.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and Dixon (11.2 ppg) all play a significant role in helping the program putting up 73.7 ppg.

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