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CAA basketball tournament roundup (March 5): Towson falls in quarterfinals to Northeastern, 71-60

As Towson focused on shutting down Northeastern guard David Walker, his teammate Quincy Ford took advantage.

Ford scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, leading the sixth-seeded Huskies to a 71-60 victory over third-seeded Towson on Saturday in front of an announced 3,450 at Royal Farms Arena.

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Northeastern (18-14) plays UNC-Wilmington in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. today. The No. 2 Seahawks overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to beat seventh-seeded College Of Charleston, 66-64, in the other quarterfinal.

"I was hoping we were able to handle their physicality," Northeastern coach Bill Coen said of Towson. "It has been a tradition of the Towson program since coach [Pat Skerry] got there. In the second half I thought we did a much better job. When you have two veteran leaders like Walker and Ford on the floor, their presence on the court makes it so much easier for the other players."

Junior forward Arnaud William Adala Moto finished with 18 points, while Mike Morsell finished with 16 for Towson (20-12).

Walker, who averaged 25 points in the two games against the Tigers in the regular season, was a catalyst again and finished with 18 points and six assists.

Towson had a 3-point lead at the half, but missed a couple shots directly under the basket early in the second half. A 3-pointer by David Walker gave the Huskies back the lead 37-36 with 17:04 remaining.

The Tigers' third turnover of the half led to a dunk by Walker and provided the Huskies with a seven-point margin, forcing Skerry to call a timeout.

"We got out of sorts defensively in the second half," Skerry said. "We just didn't guard well enough. We played hard. We made too many errors defensively. And we didn't get to the foul line for whatever reason."

Adala Moto continued to come up big for Towson with his offensive rebounds and hard-fought baskets inside.

However, a technical foul on Morsell hurt any momentum. Walker made the ensuing free throw and Quincy Ford hit a 3-pointer, extending Northeastern's lead to 56-46 with 9:08 left.

A free throw by Timajh Parker-Rivera pulled to within eight just over two minutes later. Morsell made another 3-pointer and Towson trailed 62-55 with 2:18 remaining. Northeastern, though, was too tough down the stretch. Walker made four free throws in the final minute to seal the game.

"I just tried to get the ball in the middle and be aggressive," Adala Moto said about his second-half adjustments. "We were going down, trying to get to the free-throw line and create something."

Towson led the CAA in rebounding margin at plus-7.4 and won another battle on the boards 34-28.

A 3-pointer by Eddie Keith II gave its Towson its first lead, 9-6, with 13:24 left in the half. Neither team, however, could go on a meaningful run as both sides were locked in defensively.

Morsell hit another 3-pointer and the Tigers led 25-23 with 4:11 remaining, which was the seventh lead change.

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Towson entered the game ranked sixth nationally in free-throw attempts, but did not go to the foul line in the opening half.

Nonetheless, a layup by Keith provided a 32-29 lead at the break.

The Tigers outscored Northeastern 20-10 in the paint. Towson lost for the first time (18-1) when leading at halftime this season.

UNC Wilmington 66, College of Charleston 64: Marcus Bryan scored 16 points and the No. 2 seed Seahawks (23-7, 15-4) needed a second-half comeback to beat the No. 7 seed Cougars (17-14, 8-11) in a CAA quarterfinal.

Charleston took a 40-27 lead into intermission by shooting 7-for-9 from beyond the arc while the Seahawks were 0-for-6 from 3-point range.

UNC Wilmington hit 12 of 22 from the field, including 7 of 12 from beyond the arc in the second half.

The Seahawks had the game tied four minutes into the second half and took the lead for good on C.J. Bryce's three-point play with 6:38 left.

Jarrell Brantley pulled the Cougars within a point, 65-64. Jordon Talley's free throw with five seconds left gave the Seahawks a two-point lead, but Brantley missed a jumper to tie the game with one second left.

Cameron Johnson had 21 points for Charleston.

Hofstra 80, Drexel 67: Juan'ya Green scored 22 points and the top-seeded Pride (23-8, 14-4) defeated the ninth-seeded Dragons (6-25, 3-15) on Saturday in a CAA quarterfinal.

The Pride will take on fifth-seeded William & Mary today in the semifinals.

Green, the CAA Player of the Year, was 6-for-10 from the field and made three of four 3-pointers. Rokas Gustys had 16 points and 11 rebounds for his 20th double double this season. Brian Bernardi added 14 points, Ameen Tanksley 13 and Denton Koon had 10 rebounds with eight points.

Rodney Williams had 20 points with 11 rebounds and Kazembe Abif 18 points for the Dragons.

Hofstra, which won its seventh straight game, was 21-for-31 from the free-throw line and made nine of 22 3-pointers (41 percent).

The Pride took a 7-2 lead and led from there, going up by 13 at halftime and by 20 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Bernardi.

Tavon Allen cut it to nine with 9:40 left before Hofstra pulled away again.

William & Mary 79, James Madison 64: Omar Prewitt scored 25 points and the fifth-seeded Tribe (20-10, 11-7) took advantage of a 10-minute scoreless spell by the fourth-seeded Dukes (21-11, 11-7) in the first half to build a big lead and earn a victory in a CAA quarterfinal.

William & Mary plays top-seeded Hofstra in a semifinal Sunday.

Prewitt recorded 9-for-16 shooting while Sean Sheldon and Connor Burchfield added 11 points and David Cohn had 10 for the Tribe, who shot 51 percent.

After leading 6-1, James Madison missed 12 straight shots as William & Mary built a 21-6 lead.

Two 3-pointers by Joey McLean brought James Madison within seven with 5:45 left in the game. The Tribe rebuilt their lead before Tom Vodanovich's basket cut it to five with 1:36 remaining, but those were JMU's last points with the Tribe then making 10 free throws without a miss.

Ron Curry had 20 points and 11 rebounds for JMU, and McLean added 13 before fouling out with 1:33 left.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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