Bill Coen

VIDEO: Flemmings, UNCW advance to CAA tournament final

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As was the case in the first CAA semifinal between No. 1 Hofstra and No. 5 William & Mary, No. 2 UNCW’s matchup with No. 6 Northeastern was a rematch of a semifinal in last year’s tournament. Kevin Keatts’ Seahawks held on to beat the Huskies 73-70 Sunday evening in Baltimore, avenging their loss in last year’s semifinals and advancing to the CAA tournament final for the first time since 2006.

Chris Flemmings led the way offensively for UNCW with 21 points to go along with five boards, and Denzel Ingram added 14 points before fouling out late. UNCW’s defense was the key, as they limited the Huskies to 39.1 percent shooting from the field. Quincy Ford led four Northeastern players in double figures with 21 points, but he did so on 5-for-15 shooting. David Walker and T.J. Williams added 16 apiece and Zach Stahl 11 while also grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.

Next up for UNCW will be No. 1 Hofstra in Monday’s CAA title game, which begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on NBCSN. The two teams split their two regular season meetings, with UNCW winning at Hofstra by three February 4 and the Pride returning the favor with a 70-69 win in Wilmington three weeks later.

VIDEO: Gustys, Hofstra hold off Northeastern at home

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With first-place UNCW winning Saturday, Hofstra needed a win Sunday against Northeastern to remain a game back ahead of their meeting in Wilmington Thursday night. The Huskies mounted a rally in the second half but it wasn’t enough to overtake Hofstra, which won by the final score of 65-60 on NBC Sports Network.

Denton Koon scored 19 points and Rokas Gustys added 17 points and 16 rebounds, tallying his 17th double-double of the season. Guards Juan’ya Green (13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds) and Ameen Tanksley (12 points) also scored in double figures, with that quartet accounting for 61 of the Pride’s 65 points.

David Walker and Quincy Ford, both of whom had their struggles at times on the offensive end Sunday, scored 15 points apiece for Northeastern.

CAA semifinal win moves Northeastern one step closer to first NCAA appearance since 1991 (VIDEO)

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Monday’s CAA tournament title game will match two teams desperately looking to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. While William & Mary’s drought has been much-publicized, as they’ve never played in the NCAA tournament, Northeastern’s looking to end a drought of more than two decades. Sunday evening Bill Coen’s Huskies beat UNCW 78-71 to advance to the title game, and a win over the Tribe would result in their first NCAA tournament trip since 1991.

Forward Scott Eatherton, a first team all-CAA selection, led the way with 21 points while also grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots. Just as important for Northeastern was the 33 points they received from reserves, as Devon Begley, Caleb Donnelly and Reggie Spencer scored 11 points apiece. Starting guard David Walker also scored 11 points for Northeastern, and he also contributed eight rebounds and five assists.

UNCW’s Jordan Talley led three Seahawks in double figures with 18 points, with fellow guards Craig Ponder (17 points, five rebounds, three assists) and Addison Spruill (12 points, four rebounds) being the other double-digit scorers. Monday’s title game begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on NBCSN.

Northeastern starting guard leaves program

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Northeastern senior guard Demetrius Pollard has left the men’s basketball program, the school announced in a brief statement on Saturday afternoon.

The release also stated that Pollard remains enrolled at Northeastern.

As a junior, Pollard averaged 8.9 points, 1.8 boards and 2.1 assists per game, starting 29 of 32 games for the Huskies. The 6-foot-2 guard went for 25 or more twice last season including a 27-point effort (8-of-11 from free) against Central Connecticut State on Nov. 16.

The Huskies suffered through an 11-21 (7-9 CAA) record in 2013-2014. But they returned every major contributor, including Quincy Ford, who was sidelined all but two games last season with a back injury. The cast or returners made Bill Coen’s program pegged as one of the favorites in the Colonial Athletic Association this upcoming season along with William & Mary and Hofstra.

Northeastern opens its season against Boston University, part of the Coaches vs. Cancer tripleheader at the TD Garden in Boston.

Boston University’s Joe Jones to co-host Coaches vs. Cancer tip-off breakfast

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To kick-off college basketball in the Bay State, the head coaches of the seven Division 1 schools in Massachusetts will gather at Boston’s TD Garden on the morning of September 26 for the Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Breakfast. The breakfast will be hosted and moderated by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, with first-year Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens making a special appearance.

Hosting alongside Goodman is Boston University head coach Joe Jones.

The six other coaches in attendance will be Steve Donahue (Boston College), Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Bill Coen (Northeastern), Derek Kellogg (UMass), Milan Brown (Holy Cross) and Pat Duquette (UMass Lowell).

Tickets to the breakfast will run hoop fans $100. All “proceeds from the breakfast will benefit Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that empowers basketball coaches, their teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”

David McLaughlin named ‘associate head coach’ at Northeastern

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Early last week, Northeastern men’s basketball head coach Bill Coen announced the hiring of David McLaughlin as ‘associate head coach.’ McLaughlin heads to Northeastern after serving as head coach at Stonehill College for ten seasons where he compiled an impressive 189-99 record, including five trips to the Division II NCAA Tournament.

McLaughlin will presumably fill the role that former assistant coach and current UMass Lowell head coach Pat Duquette had for three seasons.

Said Bill Cohen of the addition:

I am thrilled to welcome David McLaughlin to our staff. David possesses the character, knowledge, skill, and work ethic that we look for in members of our staff. He is an energetic recruiter and a talented coach whose Stonehill student-athletes achieved great success on the court and in the classroom. His record speaks for itself. He has an outstanding reputation and is universally respected throughout the basketball profession.

While leaving Stonehill was difficult for McLaughlin, the opportunity Northeastern presented couldn’t be passed on, he explained:

Stonehill has been such an important part of my professional life, as well as my family life. To make a move required a unique opportunity for me, professionally, and for my family. Northeastern provided that unique opportunity. Bill Coen has done a remarkable job. I look forward to learning from him daily and to helping the program in any way that I can.

In a report by the Patriot Ledger, McLaughlin delved into his coaching duties while working alongside Coen:

I’ll be coordinating recruiting, there’ll be on-the-court development of players. It’s great because it’s not a singular duty. I’ll have my hand in a lot of different cookie jars, which is the way I like to do it. Billy is a really, really good coach and I’ll have the ability to learn, too.

Prior to Stonehill, McLaughlin was an assistant coach at Wesleyan University for two seasons, and spent time on the Suffolk University coaching staff.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11