by Justin Littman
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Northeastern Huskies entered North Charleston with lofty goals of a CAA Championship. They took the first step in accomplishing that goal tonight. The Huskies led almost the entire game, and burst onto the scene in the second half to coast to a 74-50 win over 7th seeded Delaware. The Blue Hens, who defeated Elon in the first round 86-79, struggled to shoot throughout the game, shooting just 36% from the field. The Huskies continued to show off their world class perimeter defense, and only allowed Delaware to make one three pointer on the night.
The Huskies started the game with a bang. An alley-oop from Green to Pusica, and a Boursiquot rim-rattler on the next possession put the Huskies up 4-2. Though Delaware didn’t go away easily, the Huskies never looked back. Boursiquot’s high energy rallied Northeastern early, and he scored 13 points in the first half to tie a season high. He finished the game with 17.
“[Max] came out and set the tone early, Anthony Green gave us a great effort and Vasa does what he does — he drives the bus”, remarked Coach Bill Coen after the game. For Coen, it was the 200th victory of his career.
He was also tasked with guarding Delaware’s leading scorer Ryan Daly. Daly was a tough cover throughout the night, and finished the game with 23 points. Northeastern accepted that Daly would get his points, and instead focused on shutting down the rest of Delaware’s offense. Eric Carter was the only other Delaware player to reach double figures. Second-leading scorer Ryan Allen was held in check, and finished with only five points. It was the first game without a three pointer in Allen’s career.
Though Northeastern was in control, their lead was only five at the half. The bench, which didn’t score in the first half, provided the Huskies with a 24 point punch in the second. Bolden Brace led the charge, scoring all 13 of his points in the second half. He came off the bench and scored five straight to put the Huskies up 17, with under 14 minutes remaining.
“He’s 6th Man of the year for a reason…At halftime I told him to just keep shooting, and that’s what he does. He made some shots”, remarked teammate Vasa Pusica after the game.
Pusica continued to set the tone for this team. He ended a four minute scoring drought in the first half, and seemingly provided Northeastern with exactly what they needed throughout the game. In his first CAA Tournament appearance, he nearly recorded a triple-double, finishing with 15 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds.
Up next for the Huskies will be a semifinal matchup at 8:30pm against either #3 Hofstra or #6 UNCW. The Huskies split the season series with Hofstra, and won both games in overtime against UNCW.