BALTIMORE, MD – It didn’t take long for Quincy Ford to find his mother after winning the CAA championship.
The red-shirt junior weaved through the crowd of championship shirts, finding Denise Ford just in front of a pep band blasting victorious anthems.
As the mother and son embraced, the emotions that come with giving a school that hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1991 a bid finally began to hit.
“All the sacrifices she made, just reminds me of the staff, the teammates and all the sacrifices they made,” Ford said after the 72-61 win over William & Mary on Monday. “It was just a great feeling to see her and celebrate with her, as well as the team.”
Ford recorded 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting and four rebounds and in the process, earned the CAA tournament Most Outstanding Player award.
The forward got off to a great start, scoring 15 points in the first half (including 3 of 3 shooting from beyond) and the Huskies went into the break up by 10.
He picked up right where he left off in the second half, nailing his first long range attempt.
Northeastern led William & Mary by as much as 22 in the second half and weathered a late surge led by Daniel Dixon to hold on to the win.
“The X factor was our energy, our togetherness,” coach Bill Coen said. “These guys were on a mission this week.”
Even though Ford was the game’s most outstanding player, players throughout the roster contributed to the win.
Caleb Donnelly, a former Northeastern club basketball standout, had another fine shooting performance, nailing 4-of-6 three-pointers. The undersized Zach Stahl had 10 rebounds to lead the game. Senior captain Scott Eatherton dominated inside with 15 points.
And then there was David Walker, a CAA all-tournament team member, who needed to play well with his fellow guard TJ Williams slowed down by the stomach flu.
Walker had 15 points and four assists, two years after losing in the CAA championship to James Madison.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Walker said as he reflected on the journey. “The emotions after that game, especially for the seniors there in Jon [Lee] and Joel [Smith], I feel like we let them down the most.
“This just goes down in the history and they’re a part of it.”
In fact, Coen made them a part of it. Leading up to the tournament, Coen reached out to former Northeastern players – Matt Janning, J.J. Barea and Chaisson Allen to name a few – and asked them to record video clips saying what it would take to win a championship.
“It had a huge impact because these guys realize they’re a part of something that’s much bigger than this year, much bigger than this team,” Coen said. “They’re part of a program, they’re a part of an outstanding academic University.”
And now every member of that program – the players, the alumni and parents like Denise Ford – are headed to the NCAA tournament.
“We’re going to be ready,” Eatherton said. “We know the season is not over and we’re obviously not going to be picked to be favorites but we don’t want to the season to end so we’re going to work hard all week.”