RICHMOND, Va., March 2, 2012 - UNCW's inside tandem of Cedrick Williams and Keith Rendleman controlled inside with 36 points and the Seahawks dominated a 27-minute stretch 49-19 to record a 70-59 win over James Madison in the opening game of the 2012 Virginia 529 Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball championship on Friday afternoon at the Richmond Coliseum.
Ninth-seeded UNCW improved to 10-20 for the season and advanced to Saturday's noon quarterfinal game against top-seeded Drexel. JMU, the No. 8 seed, finished its season at 12-20.
JMU had a hot start to the game, jumping out 13-4 in the first four minutes of the game. The Dukes still led 17-11 with 12 and a half to go when the offense went stagnant. Over the next 27 minutes of game action, Madison managed to hit just four field goals, going 4-for-24 (17 percent) from the field.
After trailing by as many as 23 at 53-30 with 11:40 to go, the Dukes managed to have one final push in the closing minutes. After hitting 11 total field goals in the first 36 minutes, JMU connected for nine in the last four minutes, cutting the margin to as close as seven at 60-53 with 1:40 to go. However, the Seahawks went 10-for-10 at the free throw line to close the 70-59 win.
Williams, a freshman forward averaging 4.9 points per game entering the tournament, more than doubled his career high with 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Seahawks. Rendleman finished with 14 points and six boards as UNCW led in rebounds 38-31, including 16 offensive boards leading to a 26-7 lead in second-chance points.
UNCW made it four players in double figures as guar Adam Smith had 12 points and six boards and guard Tanner Milson also poured in 12.
Senior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) led JMU with 12 points, three assists and two steals in 37 minutes in his final collegiate game. Freshman guard Arman Marks (Louisville, Ky./Eastern) also has 12 points.
Despite the shooting difficulties from the field, JMU actually managed to 40 percent from the field compared to 39.6 percent for UNCW. However, the second-chance points inside and the free throw line proved to be difference for the Seahawks, who went 26-for-32 (81 percent) at the line compared to 13-for-23 for the Dukes.
JMU got off to a hot start from the opening tip, forcing a UNCW timeout with a quick 8-2 lead, which built into a 13-4 advantage on a Hitchens three-pointer with 16:26 to go. The Dukes were still ahead 17-11 after an Arman Marks layup with 12:25 to go when the offense went stagnant.
Madison went seven minutes without a field goal as the Seahawks pushed ahead 21-20 at the eight-minute mark. The inside combination of Rendleman and Williams, who had 23 total combined, coupled with mounting foul problems for the Dukes made it an overall 30-12 swing over the final 16 minutes of the half as UNCW took a 34-25 lead to the locker room.
JMU made just two of its final nine field goal attempts in the last 12 and a half minutes while committing 13 team fouls.
NOTES: Hitchens finished his JMU career ranked fifth in school history with a career three-point percentage of .400... Hitchens also placed fifth for threes in a season with 82 and sixth for attempted threes with 211... with seven assists in the game, junior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) finished with 101 for the season, making he and Hitchens (108) the fifth set of JMU teammates in program history to each post 100 assists in a season... they are the third to accomplish it at the Division I level and first in 20 years (1991-92)... junior forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) went 1-for-4 from the arc to finish fifth in JMU history with a .440 season three-point percentage... he also made his 32nd start to tie for seventh in season starts.