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NCAA Basketball CAA Basketball

Northeastern Huskies Survive CAA Home Opener Against UNCW Seahawks With Great Defense

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a terrific upset victory over the George Mason Patriots in Fairfax, VA on Thursday night, the Northeastern Huskies had another tough task entertaining the much bigger UNCW Seahawks club at Matthews Arena Saturday afternoon.

With the Huskies (7-7) mostly using a lineup that consists of four guards and one forward, the Seahawks (5-9) boast a tough front line with length and muscle that features Keith Rendleman and Cedrick Williams.

How do you beat size? Quickness and smarts. And, that’s exactly what Bill Coen’s club did, giving the Huskies a 68-64 victory.

In this Colonial Athletic Association contest, Northeastern relied on tough defense that used a lot of motion. Either set up in a half court man-to-man or 3-2 zone, the Huskies rotated and switched screens often, constantly applying pressure to the ball and confronting the Hawks’ cutters. Against the zone, UNCW used a 2-1-2 offensive set, but couldn’t really find a way to consistently score besides Tanner Milson’s hot shooting and both Rendleman and Williams’ inside presence.

Milson shot 6-9 from three-point land en route to his 20 points off the bench, the first game he didn’t start this season, and Rendleman and Williams combined for 25 points, 21 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Most notably in this game, the Huskies’ half court trap was extremely effective. Northeastern was able to force 17 turnovers in the contest that led to a bevy of Jonathan Lee fast break layups and other points in transition.

“We thought if we could generate some turnovers before they got [the ball] inside, that would be to our advantage,” Coen said after the game.

The Huskies will take on the Drexel Dragons on Tuesday and the Seahawks will take on James Madison in their next contest on Wednesday.


Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.