WILMINGTON, N.C., – The James Madison basketball team fought back a pesky UNCW effort by hitting all eight free throws in the final minute of play to seal a 63-56 Colonial Athletic Association road win at Trask Coliseum, Jan. 28. With just their second road victory in nine tries, the Dukes improved to 12-10 and 6-3 in the league, good sole possession of second place currently, while the Seahawks fell to 8-12 and 3-5 in the conference.
Tied at 42 with 8:30 to go in the game, JMU went on an 8-2 run over 2:45 to take a 50-44 lead with 5:14 to play in the game, a lead they would never relinquish. After a UNCW bucket cut it to four, JMU pushed it back to seven on senior guard Devon Moore’s three-pointer, with the margin remaining a two-possession game until the final minute of the contest on a triple by Seahawk guard Chris Dixon. However, the Dukes closed the door with eight straight made free throws in the final minutes, including four straight by freshman guard Andre Nation, for the victory.
Both teams were similar in field goal percentage, as Madison was 40.0 percent (22-for-55) and UNCW finished at 39.6 percent (21-for-53). JMU won the battle of the boards 42-30 and converted it to a 19-9 advantage in second chance points. However, the free throw line was the difference, with the Dukes finishing the game 15-for-23.
Moore led the Dukes with 19 points in the game, 15 of them coming in the second half, including a spurt where he scored eight out of 10 points for JMU. Senior forward Rayshawn Goins had his 12th career double-double of the year with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Nation also chipped in 11. UNCW senior forward Keith Rendleman led all scorers with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Dixon added 16.
After UNCW jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first half, Madison rallied Trailing 26-19 with 5:35 to go in the first half, UNCW held JMU scoreless for the next 7:42 and went on a 12-0 run spanning the end of the first and start of the second half to take a 31-26 lead with just over 18 minutes to go in the contest. The Seahawk lead continued until Moore scored five straight in the game and eight of the last 10 for JMU to put the Dukes up 41-40 with 10:17 to go. From there, the game was tied at 42, setting up the battle in the final minutes.
Now 9-1 when leading at halftime, the Dukes return home on Thursday, Jan. 31 to host the Hofstra Pride in another key CAA matchup. Tipoff at the Convocation Center is set for 7 p.m.