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Seniors lead UNC Wilmington to CAA quarterfinal rout over Charleston

Even if they didn't bring much tournament experience to Baltimore, a senior-laden UNC Wilmington rode its veterans to a blowout quarterfinal victory to earn its first Colonial Athletic Association semifinal spot since 2008.

Seniors Freddie Jackson, Addison Spruill and Cedrick Williams combined for 50 points, with Williams and Jackson chipping in 19 apiece in a 79-53 rout of 10th-seeded Charleston Saturday in the CAA tournament at Royal Farms Arena.

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"We want to get past [our lack of tournament success] now, because when you get to the end of the season, this is a group that won 12 regular-season [conference] games and won a [tournament] game and we're moving forward from that past," Keatts said. "They haven't had a lot of success in the past, but we have all moved forward and they deserve everything they get from this point forward."

The win was the Seahawks' first CAA tournament victory since 2012. The regular season co-champions, who lost on the final day of the season to deny themselves the outright championship, will face No. 3 seed Northeastern in a semifinal Sunday.

Keats said it was their best two-way game of the season.

"Our pressure really bothered them, we did a good job of defending 94 feet, and we've worked on getting out in transition and getting easy baskets," Keats said. "I thought tonight, we did a really good job of it."

Charleston guard Joe Chealey was first to double digits with 11 first-half points, but most came from the foul line. After a pair of early buckets for Chealey, Charleston slumped to miss 18 of its next 21 field goals while the Seahawks pushed the tempo and built an overwhelming lead.

UNC Wilmington, which has four players who average 10 or more points per game in conference play, used their typical balanced attack to push its first-half lead to as many as 13 and enter the break up, 36-25.

Williams had nine points and seven rebounds at the half, while Jackson and Spruill had nine and eight first-half points, respectively.

The two sides traded baskets out of halftime before 10 points from Jackson sparked a 16-2 run, opening the lead to 25 points. UNC Wilmington's largest lead was 29 points.

Chealey finished with 12 points to lead the Cougars, and sophomore guard Canyon Barry added in 9 in the loss. Charleston, which on Friday upset a shorthanded, seventh-seeded Drexel in the opening round, finished at 9-24.

Northeastern 67, Delaware 64

David Walker scored 17 points and Quincy Ford had 16 as third-seeded Northeastern edged No. 6 seed Delaware 67-64 in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament quarterfinals on Saturday night.

Zach Stahl added 13 points and six rebounds for the Huskies (21-11) who move on to face No. 2 seed UNC-Wilmington in the CAA tournament semifinals on Sunday.

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Northeastern led 35-31 at the break but Delaware went 9-4 to start the second half to make it 40-40 with 17:43 to play and trailed by narrow margins through the rest of the period.

With eight seconds to play, Delaware's Kory Holden drove inside for a layup to bring the Blue Hens (10-20) to within one point, 65-64, before a foul by Kyle Anderson sent Walker to the line where he sank two, sealing the Huskies' victory.

Holden scored 20 points and dished five assists for the Blue Hens.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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