PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Nov. 19, 2011 - La Salle used hot perimeter shooting to fuel an 11-0 second-half run en route to a 92-83 victory over James Madison in the opening game of the Philly Hoop Group Classic on Saturday afternoon at Tom Gola Arena.
JMU fell to 1-1 on the season while La Salle improved to 2-1.
A 10-0 JMU run had closed a 12-point gap to two at 49-47 with 12:31 remaining. The Dukes were still within two at 56-54 on a Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) three-pointer with 9:02 remaining.
From that juncture, Tyreek Duren hit a three followed by a jumper with a foot on the arc and Sam Mills added another quick three followed by a Jerrell Wright three-point play as part of the key 11-0 run.
Madison had one more push, cutting the margin to six at 71-65 with 4:37 remaining on an Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) trey, but the Dukes could get no closer as La Salle put the game away with free throws for the 92-83 win.
Duren led the Explorers with 23 points while hitting all three of his three-point attempts. Mills added 18 while Wright posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. Earl Pettis contributed 15 points, six boards, three assists and a pair of steals.
Junior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community) led JMU with 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting with five rebounds. Semenov poured in 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting while Hitchens added 17 and four assists. Senior forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) contributed nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
La Salle shot 49 percent from the floor while hitting 6-of-11 three-pointers, including 5-of-7 in the second half (71 percent). The Explorers attempted twice as many free throws as the Dukes, connecting on 26 of their 33 attempts compared to 12-for-16 for JMU. JMU shot 45 percent from the floor and actually hit one more from the arc than La Salle, hitting 7-of-14 tries.
La Salle held the Dukes scoreless for nearly five minutes early in the first half and used a 13-0 run to pull ahead 16-7. However, JMU answered right back with a 12-0 run of its own to take a 20-19 lead. The score remained tight until the Explorers pulled away at the break, using a Duren layup at the buzzer to take a 39-33 lead into the locker room.JMU continues action in the Philly Hoop Group Classic on Tuesday at home with a 7 p.m. game against Robert Morris.
NOTES: La Salle
improved to 6-1 in the head-to-head series against James Madison... center Gene Swindle (Miami, Fla./Gulliver
Prep), a transfer from Virginia Tech, scored his first collegiate points on a
pair of free throws at the 6:26 mark of the first half after injuries derailed
his time with the Hokies... Davis opened his JMU career with consecutive 20-point
efforts after having 23 in the opener against Canisius...he is the first player to begin his JMU career with consecutive 20-point games since Steve Hood, who was also a transfer in the 1989-90 season, with 32 against North Carolina and 27 against San Diego State... no other JMU player has opened a season with 20 in back-to-back games since Darren McLinton (1995-96) had 30 against Illinois State, 27 against Auburn and 21 against VCU in his senior season... in two games this season, Davis has four points in the first half and 40 in the second half.