NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (JMU Athletics) -- Sophomore guard Matt Lewis buried a straightaway three-pointer with 2.7 seconds to play on Saturday, completing an 11-point second-half comeback and giving No. 8 James Madison a 74-73 win over No. 9 Towson in the first round of the Colonial Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Dukes (14-18) fell behind by a 65-54 margin with just 7:36 to play as Towson (10-22) shot 60 percent (15-of-25) in the second half, but immediately used a 15-5 run to close within a point at the 2:21 mark.
Towson pushed the lead back to four, but the Dukes got a layup, then forced a shot clock violation to set up Lewis' heroics. The sophomore took the ball on the left wing and dribbled to the top of the arch as pressure from a double-team relaxed, giving him a clean look from 24 feet that he buried, before Towson's last-second heave was long to seal the win.
The victory pushes the Dukes into Sunday's CAA Quarterfinals, where they will face top-seeded Hofstra at noon, after the Pride had a bye through Saturday's first round.
All told, Lewis racked up 26 points on the day, going 7-of-15 from the field, 3-of-5 from deep and 9-of-11 from the charity stripe. Sophomore forward Dwight Wilson matched Lewis with a career-high 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting, adding seven boards as he gave the Dukes a crucial post presence against the physical Tigers.
On the afternoon, the Dukes shot 50 percent (24-of-48) from the field, hitting seven of 16 (43.8 percent) from the three-point line and racking up 10 steals.
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"This win is about these players and this program. These guys keep fighting and keep clawing and it says so much about who they are. We'll celebrate this one for a bit, but we know there's a huge test tomorrow. It's another day we get to fight."
- Sophomore Matt Lewis tallied 26 points on the day, giving him 982 points in his career and putting him just 18 points away from becoming the 32nd player in program history to score 1,000 points at JMU and just the second to ever accomplish the feat as a sophomore.
- With two steals on Saturday, sophomore Darius Banks has 53 this season, tied for third-most in a single season in program history.
- Saturday saw the season debut of senior forward Cameron Smith, who started the contest and played the opening four minutes for the Dukes.
- After Saturday, freshman Deshon Parker has 97 assists this year, leaving him just three shy of becoming the fifth freshman in JMU history to tally 100.
The Dukes will face top-seeded Hofstra in the CAA Quarterfinals, with tipoff scheduled for noon on Sunday, March 10. The winner will advance to the CAA Semifinals to face the winner of No. 4 William & Mary and No. 5 Delaware on Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m.