Dukes squander lead, fall to Elon in CAA quarterfinal marred by controversial calls

Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 7:52 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison men’s basketball team suffered a 72-71 loss to Elon Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament at the Atlantic Union Bank Center.

JMU led by ten at halftime and built a 15-point lead in the second half before the Phoenix mounted a comeback. Elon outscored the Dukes, 43-32, after halftime to earn the victory. Hunter McIntosh scored a game-high 24 points for the Phoenix. JMU was led in scoring by Vado Morse and Justin Amadi, who both poured in 21 points.

Following the game, much of the conversation about the contest surrounded a pair of technical fouls called against JMU. According to JMU head coach Mark Byington, Zach Jacobs was called for a technical for saying “and 1″ after scoring a basket in the first half and believing he was fouled in the process. No foul was called on the play.

With 1:13 remaining in the game and the Dukes leading 66-63, McIntosh scored and was fouled in the process. Byington was then called for a technical foul. McIntosh made all three free throws to give the Phoenix 68-66 lead. JMU was able to tie the game before Elon’s Ikenna Ndugba scored the game-winning bucket with 31 seconds remaining.

WHSV and the Daily News-Record both requested media access with the officials after the game to gather more information about the technical fouls. The request was not granted but the following statement was provided from the CAA:

“After consultation with the officiating crew, the conference learned that the technical foul was called because the head coach was outside of the coach’s box while arguing a call.”

Byington addressed the technical fouls in his postgame press conference.

“The one they called on me, I said nothing vulgar,” said Byington. “I couldn’t get the refs attention and I said ‘It was the same call.’ He thought I was out of line for that. So you hate it when you get to situations where basketball is played a certain way throughout the year and throughout the years and something is different in tournament games. It was bad timing.”

JMU’s season is over unless the Dukes receive an invite to a postseason tournament. The most likely choice would be the NIT. JMU finishes the season with a 13-7 overall record and share of the CAA regular-season championship.

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