Freshman forward Jeremy Miller’s layup with 0.8 seconds left lifted Northeastern past UNCW 65-63 in a televised Colonial Athletic Association matchup Saturday at Trask Coliseum.
The defending CAA champion Huskies improved to 10-5 overall and moved to 2-0 in conference with a sweep of their conference swing to North Carolina. The Seahawks had their four-game winning streak snapped and stand 9-4 and 1-1.
“We played hard and we made some shots late, but, unfortunately, they had the ball on the last possession,” said UNCW Head Coach Kevin Keatts. “I’m proud of our guys. The effort was there. We chipped away at the lead, but we didn’t have the ball at the end of the game.”
Miller, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds in his first game against the Seahawks, was one of two Huskies in double figures. Senior guard Quincy Ford led the way with a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds, while the CAA’s second leading scorer, David Walker (19.9 ppg), was held to nine points in 40 minutes.
Junior guard Chris Flemmings shook off a bug to lead four Seahawks in double digits with 17 points, including 13 as UNCW rallied down the stretch. Sophomore guard Jordon Talley contributed 12 points and six assists, junior guard Denzel Ingram scored 11 and senior guard Craig Ponder had 10.
After Flemmings tied the game with 30 seconds on the clock, the Huskies worked the ball down the floor and senior guard Caleb Donnelly dished off to Miller inside for the game-winner. It was the second time this season the Seahawks lost at the buzzer following a 69-67 nailbiter at Radford two weeks ago.
NU, which never trailed, sizzled early from the field and dialed long distance, connecting on 5-of-10 from deep in the first half, to build a 35-30 advantage at intermission. It marked just the third time this season the Seahawks went into the break trailing on the scoreboard.
The two teams combined for just 1-of-13 in the opening minutes of the second half and the Seahawks sliced the deficit to 38-35 on Ingram’s three-ball with 15:10 remaining. But the Huskies responded with a 7-0 spurt to put the margin back to 10 points, 45-35, capped by Ford’s conventional three-point play at 14:03.
Talley keyed another rally with eight points to bring the Seahawks within 49-45 and a layup by Dylan Sherwood cut the lead to 51-48 at the eight-minute mark.
NU’s Donnell Gresham answered with a triple on right wing, but Flemmings heated up and scored eight of 10 points in a two-minute stretch and evened the score, 58-all, on a putback with 4:07 left to play before Miller’s heroics at the end.
NU used strong free throw shooting to hold off the Seahawks down the stretch, converting 7-of-8 free throws in the final five minutes to seal the win. The Huskies wound up sinking 16-of-19 for 84.2 percent on the night at the line.
UNCW begins its first conference road trip of the season on Thursday with a 7 p.m. tip-off at Towson. NU entertains Delaware on Thursday at 7 p.m. in its conference home debut.