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Surging Huskies set for CAA tourney this weekend

Photo by Jim Pierce/Northeastern Athletics

The Huskies head into the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament this weekend riding a seven-game winning streak and focused on playing their best basketball at the most important time.

The CAA Tournament will be held at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina. Northeastern enters the tournament as the two-seed, having earned a bye into the quarterfinal round.

Northeastern will begin play on Sunday at 6 p.m., against the winner of the Elon-Delaware game on Saturday. The Huskies’ game on Sunday can be seen on CAA.tv.

“I think we are playing with some confidence, but certainly we have been tested in every one of those games and have had to make a play in each of those games to earn the victory,” head coach Bill Coen said of the team’s winning streak in a teleconference on Tuesday. “There have been no blowouts, we have been playing competitive basketball, but we realize that we have to play at an even greater level if we are hoping to win the CAA Tournament.”

The Huskies posted a 21-9 regular season record and captured a share of the CAA regular season title with a win over Elon last weekend. The team’s 21 regular season victories are its most since the 1986-87 season.

Junior guard Vasa Pusica leads the team in scoring (17.6 points a game) and assists (five a game). He poured in a career-high 31 points in the regular season finale. “Time and time again he steps up and makes big plays either at the end of games, or the end of shot clocks,” Coen said. “He has tremendous confidence and he’s a very experienced and accomplished player.”

Sophomore guard Shawn Occeus has made a major impact on the defensive side of the ball, typically guarding the opponent’s best player while chipping in on the offensive end. He closed the regular season particularly strong, tallying a career-high 24 points against Towson and collecting another career-high six steals to go along with 13 points in the finale against Elon.

For fans attending the tournament, there will be a pre-game reception at the Community Pizza House in North Charleston, South Carolina, from 3 to 5 p.m. Fans can register here, and it’s $10 per person.