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HJC defeats Tunisia, 100-91

November 20, 1996

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

Devon Wade's moves were sharper than the Tunisian elbows he was trying to avoid.

The Hagerstown Junior College freshman played far beyond his years, slashing to the basket, cutting through the pointed jabs of the Tunisian National team for loose balls and scoring 21 points in the Hawks' 100-91 victory Tuesday night in a basketball exhibition at the HJC athletic complex.

"Devon Wade had the night of nights," HJC coach Jim Brown said. "He took control right from the start. When he becomes a man, he will be an interesting player."

Wade, a 6-foot-8 freshman, capped a strong inside performance with two 3-point bombs early in the second half to help the Hawks withstand one of several Tunisian comeback attempts. His inside play helped HJC to a dominating 48-30 rebounding margin.

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"These guys were strong, aggressive and physical," Wade said. "I never took that many elbows in a night before. But this team perseveres. We knew coming in they would be big and strong. We just focused on what we had to do."

HJC passed the test posed by an experienced team and survived playing in a halfcourt setting. But the Hawks, who beat Howard in their season opener Nov. 8, were again at their best when moving the ball in the open floor.

Tunisia, which finished an eight-game, 10-day U.S. trip with a 1-7 record, led 15-14 with 12:02 remaining in the first half when Mounir Garali hit one of his six 3-point baskets. HJC started taking control when Wade's three-point play ignited a 26-10 run over the next seven minutes.

But Tunisia refused to fade. It trailed 53-39 at intermission, but opened the second half with a 10-3 flurry to move within 56-49. HJC responded with an 18-4 spree, ignited by Wade's two 3s, for a 74-53 lead.

The lead was big enough for the Hawks to withstand a barrage of 15 3-point baskets by Tunisia. Lamjed N'Jah led Tunisia with 25 points, including five 3-pointers.

"We had tremendous respect for that team," Wade said. "There will be a lot of games which (we) will rely on height more than strength, but this game will help us prepare for the future."

The future begins tonight at 7:30, when the Hawks play host to Catonsville in a Maryland JuCo Conference game.

"This is different. We'll be in for a challenge (tonight)," Brown said. "We'll have to see how these guys come back for the first time to play a second straight game on a 94-foot college floor."

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