GAMES NOTES: The top-seeded Northeastern Huskies will begin their quest to claim the Colonial Athletic Association crown when they hit the floor against the fourth-seeded George Mason Patriots in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament at Richmond Coliseum.
Sherrod Wright poured in 23 points to lead George Mason to a 60-54 victory against Drexel in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The win ended a two-game slide for the Patriots that closed out the regular season. The Patriots are now 18-13 overall as they go for their fifth CAA title.
By virtue of its 14-4 record in league play this season Northeastern secured not only the CAA regular season crown but the top seed and a bye in the first round of the CAA Tournament. The Huskies did lose three of their last five games to close out the campaign. Northeastern is looking for its first ever tournament title.
During the regular season Northeastern swept George Mason to even the all-time series between these squads at 10 wins apiece.
In their win over Drexel on Saturday the Patriots ability to force turnovers carried them to victory. George Mason scored 21 points off of 13 turnovers from the Dragons. Bryon Allen added 16 points and six steals in the contest while Wright got 11 of his points from the free-throw line.
As a team the Patriots own a +2.4 scoring margin on the season as they score a mediocre 66.7 points per game while holding teams just below 65. Wright (16.7 ppg) has been the most productive scoring commodity for the Patriots who have no other players putting in more than eight points per game. Wright went through a two-game slump outside of double figures before the past two games when he has recorded 43 points combined. Patrick Holloway (5.0 ppg) is a decent 3-point shooter but Jonathan Arledge (7.9 ppg) and Bryon Allen (7.5 ppg) are the best options after Wright.
Northeastern's season certainly ended on a sour note. The Huskies were set down 81-74 at home against last place Old Dominion. Northeastern did outscore the Monarchs 21-3 from beyond the arc but allowed the visitors to shoot at a 54.4 percent clip from the field.
During the season the Huskies were the best scoring team in the conference (70.1 ppg), ranking second in the league in assists (14.2 pg) and field-goal percentage (.448). Northeastern doesn't do a particularly job on the glass most nights though as it is last in the CAA in rebounds (30.4 pg). Joel Smith (16.5 ppg) had a rough stretch in late February but he looked back in form in the last two games when he averaged 24 points per contest while notching five 3-pointers in each contest. Jonathan Lee (13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.1 apg) is a capable second option while the team's leader in assists. Quincy Ford (12.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Reggie Spencer (10.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) can also fill it up.
With Lee and Smith the Huskies will have an advantage in the backcourt with George Mason far too reliant on Wright. The Huskies aren't a team that really runs by foes, but they should be able to complete a three-game sweep of the Patriots nonetheless.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northeastern 70, George Mason 64
03/10 10:32:51 ET
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