BANGOR, Maine — The Husson University men’s and women’s basketball teams are again North Atlantic Conference champions.
Raheem Anderson poured in 33 points for the second straight day, making all 13 of his free throws, to propel the top-seeded Eagles men to an 89-67 victory over third-seeded Thomas College of Waterville at Newman Gymnasium on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Chandler Guerrette connected for 28 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the No. 1 Husson women to a 58-55 win over No. 3 New England College later on Saturday.
Coach Warren Caruso’s Husson team (20-6) earned its second straight conference crown and earns the NAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship.
The Husson women (22-4), coached by Kissy Walker, also won for the second straight season and also are headed to the NCAA tournament.
In the men’s game, Anderson scored 18 of his points in the second half and also handed out eight assists on his way to the tournament MVP honor. Husson received 24 points and six rebounds from Mitch Worcester, who scored 20 of his points in the second half.
Eli Itkin provided nine points, while Justin Martin (8 rebounds) and Zach Curran chipped in seven points each.
The Eagles shot 44 percent from the floor in the contest and converted 20 of its 22 foul shots.
The Terriers exhibited outstanding balance led by Tyheem Simon, who tossed in 15 points and dished out four assists. Jordan Derosby and Carlos Gonzalez each tallied 12 points and Zach Mackinnon added nine, while Ian King provided seven points, six rebounds and three assists.
Worcester and Alonzo McCain join Anderson on the all-tournament team, which also includes Derosby and King of Thomas, Castleton’s Chad Copeland and Raymond Monroe of Lyndon State.
Husson clung to a 35-34 lead at intermission, but rolled up 54 points in the final 20 minutes while pulling away.
Thomas was on top 46-45 seven minutes into the second half, but the hosts went on an extended scoring run. Itkin put the Eagles in the lead for good with a 3-pointer at the 12:53 mark and Simon answered with a free throw for the Terriers.
Worcester scored a layup to make it 50-47, before Husson strung together a two layups by Anderson, then a conventional three-point play by Worcester that gave the Eagles a 57-47 advantage with 8:57 to play.
Derosby ended a nearly four-minute scoring drought for Thomas with a foul shot, by two Anderson free throws and Worcester’s 3-pointer extended the advantage to 62-48 with 6:38 left. The Terriers never got closer than 13 points after that.
Husson 58, NEC 55
In the women’s contest, Guerrette and Kenzie Worcester each made two free throws in the final 51 seconds to help the Eagles edge the Pilgrims.
Guerrette went 11-for-11 from the foul line to help Husson overcome 27 percent shooting, including only two 3-pointers.
New England College (21-7) missed three shots, including a 3-pointer, in between the foul shots as Husson survived a game that featured 15 lead changes and nine ties.
Worcester added eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win and was named the tourney MVP. Teammates Darla Morales and Guerrette also made the all-tournament team along with Rene Hudson and Melissa Kopacz of NEC, Amanda Beatty of Castleton and Emmani Robinson of Colby-Sawyer.
Hudson netted 18 points to spark the Pilgrims and Utshana Durham contributed 11 points.
Sarah Bragg had put Husson in front with a jumper at the 1:34 mark, but Breana Ramirez countered 27 seconds later for NEC. Guerrette and Worcester capitalized on their free throws in the final minute to help the Eagles hold on.