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Northeastern dominates William & Mary to take CAA Championship

The Colonial Athletic Association crowned a new champion on Monday evening as the Northeastern Huskies dominated the title game and burst the hopes of the William & Mary Tribe, who had been looking for their first ever NCAA berth.

Colonial Athletic Association

For the first time since 1991, Northeastern University can put on their dancing shoes.

The No. 3 Huskies used a dominant second half to run past No. 1 William & Mary, 72-61, in the CAA Championship.

Northeastern had a stranglehold on the title game for much of the night, and although the Tribe fought back to within six in the final minute, it wasn't enough to overcome their 20-point second half deficit.

Northeastern came out of the gate hot, taking a 10-0 advantage just two minutes into the game. William & Mary recovered to tie the game at 15 and then at 18, but the Tribe never led in the half and Northeastern regained full control, leading by 10 at halftime.

The first half could be summed up as the Quincy Ford show. The Northeastern guard scored 15 points on 6-7 shooting, 3-3 from beyond the arc, in the first 20 minutes. The Huskies as a team missed just eight shots all half, shooting a red-hot 63 percent.

William & Mary couldn't find any consistency in the first period, going 10-29 from the floor. CAA player of the year Marcus Thornton had just five points in the half and Omar Prewitt, who had 33 in the semifinal win over Hofstra, didn't have basket.

The Huskies opened a 13-point lead to start the second half with Ford picking up where he left off from behind the three point line.

Northeastern went cold from from the floor after a David Walker three that pushed their lead back to 13 with 17 minutes remaining. The Huskies wouldn't score for nearly six minutes, but the Tribe could only close the deficit to seven during that stretch, something that proved crucial for William & Mary.

The Huskies would get their groove back with an 11-1 run, pushing their lead to 17 with nine minutes to play. Northeastern used a deadly combination of sharp outside shooting and strong play down low to pull away from William & Mary.

Northeastern extended their lead to as many as 22 in the second half.

It was a different, maybe more tired, William & Mary team on Monday than many saw on Sunday afternoon in the semifinal thriller against Hofstra. Thornton and Prewitt became the first pair of teammates to both score 30 points in a CAA Tournament game on Sunday, but the Tribe showed signs of being gassed from having to play two overtime periods to beat Hofstra. Thornton had 20 and Prewitt struggled to just four points, as the team shot 39 percent from the field.

Ford finished with 22 points for Northeastern, while Walker added 15 and Caleb Donnelly chipped in 13. Scott Eatherton, the Huskies' regular season scoring leader, only had 12 points, but Northeastern barely needed their big man to dominate the game.

This was Northeastern's first CAA Championship since joining the conference in 2005. It was William & Mary's fourth title game loss in the last eight years, continuing their streak of being one of five original D-I schools to never make the NCAA Tournament.