HARRISONBURG, Va. – George Mason’s outside-inside junior tandem of guard Sherrod Wright and forward Jonathan Arledge poured in 22 and 19 points, respectively, in a 74-63 victory over James Madison in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
JMU saw its four-game overall winning streak snapped to fall to 13-11 overall, 7-4 in the CAA. The Dukes had a six-game home winning streak halted while dropping to 8-3 at the Convo. GMU improved to 13-9 overall and 6-4 in the CAA after snapping a two-game skid.
Wright, the fourth leading scorer in the CAA, collected his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. He was 11-for-12 at the free throw line as part of an overall 23-for-26 (89 percent) effort for the Patriots at the stripe. Arledge was 7-for-11 from the floor and 5-for-5 at the line for his 19 points to go with six rebounds.
Senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) tried to will the Dukes to the home victory with a career-high 25 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including 2-for-4 from the arc. He also had five assists and four rebounds. Fellow senior Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) totaled 13 points and nine rebounds.
Free throw success proved key in the game. While the Patriots missed just three of their 26 attempts on the day, the Dukes struggled to a 60.7 percent clip (17-for-28).
JMU had identified a formula for success during its four-game winning streak, holding opponents to 48.2 points per game and 33.7 percent shooting while also leading its opponents by an average of 13 rebounds per game. However, Mason shot 49 percent for the afternoon with 74 points scored and a 35-25 lead on the glass.
The Patriots grabbed the early lead with an 11-0 run to start the game and never trailed the rest of the way. Five times in the final eight and a half minutes JMU cut the deficit within three points or less but GMU had the answer on its next possession in each instance.
With the Dukes trailing 56-49 with 7:26 to go, Moore converted a three-point play and connected on a three-point field goal to make it a one-point game at 56-55. However, the Patriots reeled off the next five points with a layup by Arledge and a three-point play by Wright.
Madison answered again as a pair of free throws by freshman guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic), a Moore layup and a layup by freshman guard Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian) cut it to one for the second time. This time two free throws by Arledge and one by Corey Edwards built the advantage to four.
The score stood at 65-62 with 2:27 to go when a Mason turnover led to another chance for the Dukes to tie the game, but Moore’s missed three led to a breakaway for the Patriots. A flagrant foul on a layup attempt against JMU led to a four-point possession for Mason with two free throws and a layup by Arledge. With those points included, the visitors scored nine of the game’s final 10 points to pull away for the 11-point win.
JMU turned it over four times in the early minutes of the game to help Mason build its 11-0 lead out of the gate. However, the Dukes recovered to post 10 of the next 12 points with threes by Goins and Moore to make it 13-10 at the 14-minute mark.
The Patriots responded to build the margin back to seven at 19-12 at the 10 minute mark with Wright posting nine of his team’s 19 points. From there, the Patriots continued to keep the Dukes at bay to take a 32-27 lead into the break.
Mason shot 46 percent in the first half, including 3-for-4 from the arc, while also going 7-for-7 at the line. The Patriots led rebounds 20-11 in the period and limited JMU to 36 percent shooting, 3-for-12 from the arc.
Wright had 11 for the Patriots in the half while Goins and Moore each had nine for the Dukes, who got no points from their four freshmen in the half.
JMU closes its stretch of five out of six games at home with Wednesday night’s home contest against William and Mary at 7 p.m.
NOTES: JMU had been averaging 33 percent of its points from its four freshmen before the quartet combined for 11 points (17 percent) in the loss to Mason, including just one point in the first half… the 74 points scored by George Mason was the highest opponent total since Richmond had 83 in overtime on Dec. 8 and the highest in regulation since the fifth game of the season, a 76-58 loss at Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 24… the Dukes had been 5-0 at home in January after outscoring its CAA opponents by an average of 16 points per game in the Convo… Moore’s 25 points topped his previous career high of 22, which he had achieved twice… Mason won for the 19th time in the last 20 meetings between the teams and swept the season series, having also won 68-57 on Jan. 15 in Fairfax.