HARRISONBURG, Va., – Georgia State put four players in double figures and went 17-for-17 on free throws in the second half to stave off James Madison’s rally attempt for a 66-62 decision in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game on Saturday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.
JMU dropped its second game in a row to fall to 16-14 overall and 10-7 in the CAA. The loss drops the Dukes into a tie for fifth in the league with GSU, which improved to 15-15 overall and 10-7 in the league.
Redshirt senior point guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland), one of six seniors honored in pregame ceremonies, had five assists in the game to become JMU’s all-time assist leader with 467, topping the previous mark of 463 set by his former teammate, Pierre Curtis.
However, it was Georgia State using a 12-2 run after a three-point lead at the half to move ahead 39-26 in the early minutes of the second half. JMU trailed 41-29 when the momentum in the Convo began to shift and the Dukes used a 16-3 span to make it a two-point game at 44-42 at the 10-minute mark.
After missing their only free throw attempt of the first half, the Panthers went 17-for-17 in the second half to help thwart JMU’s comeback attempt as 16 of the 17 free throws came in the final 10 minutes after the Dukes made it a one-possession game.
Georgia State maintained a lead of between two and six points until a 5-0 spurt with two free throws and a three-point play by Moore made it 56-55 at the 4:09 mark. After two free throws by GSU guard Devonta White, JMU freshman Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian) nailed a three-pointer for the game’s first tie since the opening tip.
The Dukes couldn’t take advantage though as GSU hit a pair of free throws while JMU, in turn, went 1-for-4 in consecutive trips to the stripe when the Dukes had a chance to take the lead. A jumper my Markus Crider made it 62-59 with 1:18 to go.
JMU freshman guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) had two separate open looks at three-pointers from the left corner in the final 15 seconds but came up empty, including the second one just rimming out. GSU hit four more free throws sandwiched around an A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community School) three in the final five seconds to secure the 66-62 decision.
Center James Vincent, GSU’s only senior, had a season-high 16 points to go with seven rebounds and three blocks. Two of his five double-figure games this season have been against the Dukes. White added 15 points and five assists. Rashaad Richardson had 11 points and three steals while R.J. Hunter, who is a lock for CAA Rookie of the Year, was limited to 11 points, his seventh-lowest scoring total of the season.
Davis had his third 20-point game of the season and only the second double-double of his career with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The 10 rebounds matched a career high.
Moore finished with 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. His pass to Cooke for a three five minutes into the game tied Curtis’ record while his feed to Davis for another three less than three minutes later set a new standard. Moore also matched his sophomore total of 137 season assists, good for fourth in JMU history. He also moved into the top 15 in career points with 1,261, passing Dan Ruland (1255).
After a rough first half, JMU actually finished ahead of GSU in field goal percentage, 44 percent to 42 percent, thanks to a 52 percent second half (14-for-27). Both teams struggled from the arc with JMU 6-for-23 (26 percent) and GSU 5-for-19 (26 percent).
The teams tied for rebounds with 33 apiece and each had 11 turnovers. JMU had seven blocks, its fifth-best mark of the season. With nine steals, the Dukes reached their second-highest total as a team in program history with 232, four shy of the program record set in 2007-08.
GSU grabbed an early 7-2 lead right out of the gate and quickly built the margin to 10 points at 15-5. The Panthers still sat in front 23-16 when JMU managed to put together an 8-2 run to close it to a one-point game at 25-24. However, GSU added one last basket to take a 27-24 lead into the half.
Both teams struggled on a large number of three-point attempts in the first half with JMU 2-for-11 (18 percent) and GSU 3-for-14 (21 percent). Goins led a spread out JMU first half attack with six. Hunter and Vincent each had eight in the half for the Panthers.
With the odd number of teams in the CAA this year, JMU will have its turn with a bye this week before the final game of the 2012-13 regular season next Saturday, March 2, at William and Mary. The game will tip at 6 p.m. with television coverage on Comcast SportsNet’s Mid-Atlantic and New England affiliates.
NOTES: JMU recognized seniors Moore, Davis, Alioune Diouf (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern), Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville), Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) and Gene Swindle (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep)… with all but the injured Semenov starting for senior day, JMU used its 12th different starting lineup in 30 games this season… Georgia State has won seven of the last eight head-to-head meetings in a series with an uncertain future as the Panthers prepare to leave the CAA after this season... Moore also moved into fourth for career games played with 118… Nation tied a JMU freshman record with 46 steals… JMU had won seven consecutive games since the season opener when A.J. Davis scores at least 15 points until back-to-back losses against Northeastern and Georgia State… those same teams, NU and GSU, combined to go 35-38 (92 percent) at the free throw line against JMU.