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Men's Basketball
Hitchens Powers Dukes Over Seahawks

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 01/18/2012
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Sophomore forward Donte Morales returned to action two sitting two games with an injury and led the team with 14 points
View larger Courtesy: Chris Crouch

Sophomore forward Donte Morales returned to action two sitting two games with an injury and led the team with 14 points

        WILMINGTON, North Carolina - James Madison foiled a potential UNCW comeback with a late 14-2 run to earn a 69-61 Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball victory Wednesday night at Trask Coliseum.

        The loss was the third straight for the Seahawks, who fell to 7-10 and 3-4 in conference action. The Dukes evened their record at 9-9 and climbed to 2-5 in the CAA.

        JMU senior guard Humpty Hitchens led all scorers with a career-high 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-7 beyond the arc. Junior guard A.J. Davis tallied 18 markers to go with eight rebounds, while freshman forward Enoch Hood deposited 14 points.

       Junior forward Keith Rendleman notched his ninth double-double of the campaign, pouring in 12 points and grabbing a game-high 17 rebounds, for the Seahawks. Sophomore forward Donte Morales led UNCW with 14 points and freshman guard KK Simmons compiled 12 markers of his own.

       UNCW played without Head Coach Buzz Peterson, who was serving a one-game suspension after being ejected from Saturday's 79-57 loss to Drexel. Associate Head Coach Jamie Kachmarik took the helm during the contest.

       Trailing 36-33 at intermission and still behind, 49-38, with 11 minutes remaining, UNCW recovered from the 11-point deficit to take the lead, 52-50, on a trey by Simmons with 6:08 left. But just 73 seconds later, JMU responded with a 14-2 decisive spurt, capped by a jumper from Hood to push the Duke advantage to 66-55 with 32 seconds to go.

       The Dukes, who scored 40 of their 69 points in the paint, took advantage of a slow-starting UNCW squad coming out in the second half, building a quick seven-point lead when Hitchens stole a pass from Morales and converted on the other end to give JMU a 42-35 advantage with 18:01 remaining.

       After Cedrick Williams scored consecutive buckets to slice the lead to 42-38 at 14:23, JMU then reached its 11-point cushion when junior guard Alioune Diouf scored on a layup at the 11:04 mark.

      The Seahawks answered with an 11-0 run to tie the game at 49-all when freshman guard Freddie Jackson knocked down two free throws at the 7:50 mark.

      With UNCW clinging to a 53-52 lead, a layup by Davis then sparked the decisive 14-2 run that nailed down JMU's fourth win in the last five meetings with the Seahawks.

      The Seahawks entered the contest shooting 70.1 percent as a team, but struggled from the free throw line all night, making only 11-of-23 for 47.8 percent.  UNCW also managed just 32.1 percent from the floor in the second half.

      In a tight first half, the two squads battled back-and-forth, compiling six ties and seven lead changes.

      Early in the period, UNCW lived off the three-pointer, draining 4-of-8 treys before the halfway point of the stanza, capped by Morales' long bomb from the top of the key at the 10:55 mark that gave the Seahawks a 19-15 advantage.

      But it was the outside shooting of the Dukes that dominated the rest of the half, led by Hitchens, who was 4-of-5 from deep in the frame. As a team, JMU shot 6-of-9 from long range for the stanza.

      Two of Hitchens' treys marked the difference in the half. With the score tied at 30, the Chillicothe, Ohio, native drained two straight three pointers at the 2:54 and 1:50 marks to give JMU its largest lead of the first half, 36-30.

      The frame concluded after a Morales layup with 32 seconds remaining to close the gap to 36-33.

      Both squads return to the court in Saturday matinees. UNCW begins a brief two-game road swing with a trip to Williamsburg to challenge William & Mary at 2 p.m., while JMU returns home to host Hofstra in a 4 p.m. contest.

GAME NOTES: UNCW won the rebounding battle, 38-37...The Seahawks recorded eight blocks, including thee each by Rendleman and Williams...Matt Wilson scored two points and grabbed four rebounds in his first start of the campaign...Junior forward Audrey Semenov did not score in the game...Each team made six triples...The Seahawks own a 32-29 edge in the series...UNCW is 1-2 against Virginia-based opponents this season...Simmons drew a technical foul with 8:52 remaining in the game...Keith Rendleman finished with 17 rebounds, one shy of his career-high....Rendleman pushed his rebound total to 613 boards and ranks sixth all-time in the program.

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