NORTHEASTERN captured the Colonial Athletic Association championship last night in Baltimore with a 72-61 victory over top-seeded William & Mary, which failed again to earn its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Quincy Ford scored 22 points and David Walker added 15 for the Huskies (23-11), who will be making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991.
That's a relatively short stretch compared to that of William & Mary (20-12), one of only five of the original Division I teams that has never participated in the NCAA Tournament. The others: Army, Northwestern, St. Francis (N.Y.) and The Citadel.
Third-seeded Northeastern scored the game's first 10 points and never trailed in winning its first CAA title. The last time the Huskies made it to the NCAA Tournament, they were champions of the North Atlantic Conference (now the America East).
William & Mary was playing in the CAA final for the fourth time in 8 years. The result of each of those games has been frustratingly identical.
In other tournament championship games:
* At Asheville, N.C., Lee Skinner scored 17 points, Eric Garcia added 15, and top-seeded Wofford held off 10th-seeded Furman, 67-64, to capture the Southern Conference championship and earn its fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in six seasons.
The Terriers (28-6) ended an unlikely run by the Paladins (11-22) to the championship.
* At Albany, N.Y., Ashton Pankey had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Emmy Andujar had 18 points, 11 boards as Manhattan (19-13) upset top-ranked Iona (26-8), 79-69, in the MAAC final and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
* Puerto Rico has named Louisville coach Rick Pitino to coach its national team in two international tournaments this summer.
The Hall of Fame coach will lead Puerto Rico during the Pan American Games in Toronto, July 21-25. He will also coach the squad in a 10-team, pre-Olympic FIBA qualifying tournament, Aug. 25-Sept. 5, in Monterrey, Mexico.
* Citadel fired men's basketball coach Chuck Driesell after five losing seasons.
Driesell, the son of college coaching great Lefty Driesell, finished with an overall record of 42-113 at Citadel.