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Courtesy: CAA/Scott K. Brown

UNCW Opens CAA Tourney With 70-59 Win Over JMU

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 03/02/2012
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RICHMOND, Va. (3/2/12) - Freshman Cedrick Williams scored a career-high 22 points, and Keith Rendlemen added 14 as the duo powered ninth-seeded UNCW past eighth-seeded James Madison, 70-59, in the opening game of the 2012 Virginia 529 CAA Men's Basketball Championship.

UNCW (10-20) notched its first victory in the conference championship since 2008 and advances to Saturday's quarterfinals against top-seeded Drexel, scheduled for a noon start at the Richmond Coliseum.

Williams and Rendleman did most of their damage in the paint, as JMU (12-20) struggled to find an answer to the pair inside. Williams was 7-for-12 from the field, and Rendleman sparked a key first-half run that gave UNCW a lead it would never relinquish.

Adam Smith added 14 points and Tanner Milson scored 10 to give UNCW four players in double figures.

Arman Marks and Humpty Hitchens each scored 12 points to lead Madison, which suffered its second consecutive opening round loss in the annual tournament.

After the Dukes raced out to a 13-4 lead in the opening four minutes behind an emphatic dunk from A.J. Davis and long three-pointer by Hitchens at the 16:26 mark, UNCW outscored the Dukes, 30-12, to close the half behind a dominant attack inside and on the offensive glass.

With the Dukes in early foul trouble, Rendlemen took over in the paint, spurring UNCW to a 12-5 run that gave the Seahawks their first lead, 21-20, since the opening basket. Rendlemen scored six consecutive points during the rally, including an impressive follow off his own miss. UNCW had eight offensive rebounds in the first half alone and controlled the boards, 18-12, in the period.

Rendlemen finished the opening half with 12 points, but it was Williams who capped the run and gave UNCW its nine-point cushion at the break. Williams' three-point play following another offensive rebound pushed the Seahawks' advantage to seven with 3:59 remaining, and the rookie swingman added two more buckets inside to increase the UNCW lead to 34-25 at intermission. Williams also reached double figures in the opening stanza with 11 points in 12 minutes.

UNCW limited JMU to just seven points over the first 11 minutes of the second half, and the Seahawks were in complete control when Smith drained a shot-clock beating three for a 53-30 lead with 9:07 remaining.

Marks caught fire down the stretch as the Dukes chipped away at the UNCW lead, pulling to within 60-53 on Marks' trey with 1:40 remaining. Williams slammed the door at the other end though, converting a pair at the line with 1:21 on the clock. Williams finished 8-for-10 at the line, and the Seahawks shot 26-for-32 at the stripe for the game. Williams also grabbed eight rebounds to pace UNCW on the boards.

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