It’s been 24 years since the Northeastern Huskies have made an appearance in the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament, but inspired play leading to a 72-61 victory against William & Mary had made them champions of the Colonial Athletic Association conference.
Junior forward Quincy Ford went 8-10 from the floor, good for a season-high 22 points while junior guard David Walker contributed 15 points of his own for the Huskies. Ford, who was recognized as the Most Outstanding player in the NCAA tournament, made it clear that it wasn’t an easy win and that William & Mary gave them a brief scare after the Huskies went on a bit of an offensive slump. The game never got closer than a six point difference before Northeastern pulled away for good.
“We faced a great team, came out and battled,” said Ford. “They rattled us a little but, but we stuck together and finished strong.”
Along with Northeastern’s first ever CAA title, the Huskies earned the most wins in a season since the 1986-87 team that went 27-7, finished with a record of 23-11. Head coach Bill Coen made certain their achievement was not lost on his team in the moment, inviting many former players to record video messages for current players prior to the tournament.
“They told them how important it was for these guys to go out and give their best, how much they’re cheering for them and how much they’re following them,” said Coen. “I think that had a huge impact, because these guys realize they’re a part of something that’s much bigger than this year, much bigger than this team.”
The last time the Huskies made it to the NCAA tournament, they were a 16 seed and lost to North Carolina in a lopsided 101-66 loss. They’ll find out who their opponent is for this year’s NCAA Men’s tournament this Sunday.