Saturday, April 20, 2024

Captains Capture Third Straight C2C Title as Hines Brothers Lead the Way in Win over Mary Washington

(Sydney Smith/CNU Athletics)

FREDERICKSBURG — Christopher Newport University made it a three-peat Saturday night, beating the University of Mary Washington, 62-56, in the Championship game of the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Captains, defending National Champions, will advance to their eighth straight NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament and the 27th in the 56-year history of the program.

Saturday’s victory, in front of 950 fans at Ron Rosner Arena on the Mary Washington campus, gave the Captains their third straight C2C title since the inception of the conference. Sophomore Collin Hines led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds while his brother, senior All-American Jahn Hines, posted 18 points and five boards. Freshman Tyson Henderson also reached double figures with 14 points as the Captains raised their record to 21-6 on the season.

“I’m so proud of our guys, just a gutty performance tonight and a terrific win,” Head Coach John Krikorian said as his team cut down the nets and celebrated the conference title. “We’ve come a long way this season and many guys on this squad have had to play different roles. I think we’ve grown and matured as a team, and the effort in both of these games this weekend, especially on defense, was just outstanding.”

As a back-and-forth first half came to a close, Christopher Newport pushed its lead to seven when Collin Hines banked home a three-pointer in the final seconds, giving the Captains a 32-25 edge at the break. The triple gave the younger Hines 14 points at the half.

UMW came out strong to start the second half, and used a 13-2 run to jump in front, 38-34. CNU responded by re-gaining the momentum with a 13-0 run of its own, to go ahead by nine points, 47-38, and Christopher Newport never trailed again.

The Captains held their biggest advantage of the night, a ten-point margin, at 51-41, only to see Mary Washington again bounce back. The Eagles, who finished the season with a 17-10 record, cut it as close as four, 60-56, thanks to two late three-pointers from senior Zack Blue. CNU was able to slam the door thanks to six consecutive free throws made in the final two minutes, four by Henderson and the final two from junior Christian Wilson.

In all, the Captains converted 20 of 23 free throws, with Henderson going 7-for-8 at the stripe and Jahn Hines making all six of his attempts. CNU’s stingy defense held UMW to just 38 percent shooting (21 of 56), and just a 22 percent clip from long range (5 of 23). Christopher Newport also out-rebounded Mary Washington, 31-28, for the night.

Freshman Jay Randall led the Eagles with 14 points, while Blue ended up with 11 thanks to the two late triples. The victory by the Captains was the 12th straight over the Eagles in the series, and the third straight for CNU in Coast-To-Coast Championship games. The Captains downed UMW in the final two years ago at the Freeman Center, and last year captured the crown over the Eagles in the title game played in Santa Cruz, Ca.

Christopher Newport has now won 21 all-time conference tournament titles, and eight under John Krikorian over the last 13 seasons.

The NCAA will release the 64-team bracket for the upcoming tournament on Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Games will begin next Friday, March 1st, and CNUsports.com will have information on the next opponent for the Captains and the location of the next game shortly after the bracket is released on Monday afternoon.

“This is a great accomplishment for our guys,” Krikorian concluded. “This season has been quite a journey, but here we are. Next Friday night we’ll be ready to go out there and battle again.”

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