James Madison defeats Penn on blocked shot at buzzer
Penn’s last-second layup attempt blocked to seal 3rd-straight loss
November 27, 2011, 2:57 pm·
Henry Chang | DP
It just wasn’t the Quakers’ weekend.
One day after a 20-point loss to Pitt, Penn’s comeback effort came up short in the final minutes against James Madison, as the Quakers fell, 60-58, in the final game of the Philly Hoop Group Classic.
“It’s very frustrating,” Penn senior Zack Rosen said. “But we’ve got to figure out how to use it in a good way to get rolling here and get back to what we know is right for us.”
Rosen hit a game-tying three-pointer with a minute and a half left in the game, but the Dukes responded with a game-winning floater from senior guard Humpty Hitchens with 10 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Penn got the ball to senior Mike Howlett under the net, but his shot was blocked by Julius Wells as time ran out.
“The defensive possession was a mad scramble,” JMU coach Matt Brady said. “It was clear that we were going to try not to let Zack get the last shot off.”
Rosen led the Quakers with 15 points and 10 assists, but was contained all night by Hitchins — Rosen took just six shots.
Hitchins, who had averaged 21.3 points per game coming into this matchup, scored eight against Penn, putting most of his time into defending Rosen.
“I just told the team before the game that I’m sacrificing this game for defense,” Hitchins said. “He made some big shots, but we came out with the win, so that’s all that matters.”
Penn hit 47.8 percent of its shots in the first half and entered halftime with the game tied at 29.
The Red and Blue opened the second half with a 6-0 run, but struggled to hit shots down the stretch, shooting just 33.3 percent in the second half.
Turnovers plagued the Quakers yet again. Over the two games this weekend, Penn coughed up a combined 30 turnovers.
James Madison capitalized on those giveaways, scoring 18 points off turnovers. Penn only scored nine points off the Dukes’ 15 turnovers.
“Free throws, turnovers, loose balls, all those things add up to losses,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said.
James Madison junior A.J. Davis gave the Quakers problems all night, leading all scorers with 19 points.
“He’s a killer,” Allen said. “Once he started making a couple shots, the game seemed like it opened up for them.”
Despite the loss, the Quakers had strong play from the bench, which scored 22 points, a season high.
Sophomore Marin Kukoc hit two big threes down the stretch to keep Penn in the game, and freshman forward Henry Brooks had 10 points in 14 strong minutes of play.
The Quakers, however, have now lost three straight, and that doesn’t sit well with the team.
“It’s supposed to hurt,” Rosen said. “Losing sucks. It’s not something that me or the group will ever get used to.”