Hawks blow away Nor’Easters in quarterfinals, will face Gordon in Semis

Brett Johnson, Sports Editor

The three-seed Hawks opened the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament Tuesday with a 102-87 win over sixth-seeded University of New England at home.

The Hawks were confident entering the contest since they posted two double-digit victories against the Nor’Easters this season.

The first half opened with some back-and-forth scoring, but then the Hawks found a rhythm and took total control. Not even halfway through the first, the Hawks had a double-digit lead.

RWU Head Coach Michael Tully felt comfortable with giving his bench players some playing time early in the half and they didn’t disappoint. Freshman Eli Harris hit two consecutive three pointers to extend their lead. He finished with 12 points on four three-pointers.

The Hawks slowed the pace down, even when UNE put on a full-court press, and went into a little bit of a scoring lull, but still kept a solid lead.

Harris ended the half with an exclamation point by draining a three with only seconds left. The Hawks jumped and ran into the locker room with a 20-point lead. They led 56-36.

The Hawks opened the second half just like they finished the first.

But when the Nor’Easters began to creep up with just under five minutes, the Hawks were forced to turn on the jets. UNE came close to erasing the double-digit lead, but the Hawks held on just long enough.

It might not have been the prettiest end, but the Hawks pulled out another double-digit win over the Nor’Easters.

“Second halves have been tricky at times,” Coach Tully said of their second semester woes.

Newly crowned CCC Player of the Year, senior Austin Coene posted a game-high 25 points and 19 rebounds.

“We’re happy with the results. Played really well for a substantial amount of time. A little shaky but that team makes you do that a little bit, very unorthodox the way they play. We knew what to expect so overall I think we handled it okay,” Coach Tully said.

The Hawks move onto the semifinals Thursday and will be visiting the two-seed Gordon College. RWU was 0-2 this season against the Fighting Scots, but forced overtime the first time they played them on the road.

“We know what we’re up against,” Coach Tully said. “We’ll see. I know we’re confident in what we can do up there.”