William & Mary wins at JMU to improve to 2-0 in CAA

william & maryWilliam & Mary used a 15-2 run early in the second half and shot 61 percent in the final 20 minutes to improved to 2-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play with an 84-76 road win at James Madison on Tuesday evening.

W&M trailed by as much as 14 in the first half, but closed the half on a 15-4 run, before surging in front in the final 20 minutes. Sophomores Matt Milon (19 points and 12 rebounds) and Nathan Knight (16 points and 12 rebounds) each tallied double-doubles in the win.

Trailing 41-38 at the break, W&M knocked down five-straight shots during its 15-2 run to take it first lead of the game, which it would not relinquish. The Green and Gold scored nine points in a row and took the lead for good on a Nathan Knight dunk at the 15:22 mark. Sophomore Justin Pierce added the final five of the run, extending the margin to 56-50 on a lay-up six minutes into the second half.

JMU drew to as close as 62-60 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Stuckey Mosley and Joey McLean, but W&M responded with six in a row to take it largest lead. Milon’s 3-pointer capped the spurt with 6:46 to play, increasing the margin to 68-60. W&M had an answer for every Duke come-back attempt, including old-fashion 3-point plays from junior Paul Rowley with 5:22 left and Milon with 40 seconds remaining after a Connor Burchfield steal on the defensive end to hold off the Dukes.

JMU used a pair of 7-0 runs to take a double-digit advantage in the first half. Matt Lewis jumpstarted both with a 3-pointer, and back-to-back Tribe turnovers led to a pair of easy Dukes’ buckets. A DeVelle Phillips dunk extended the home team’s lead to 26-14 and forced a W&M timeout with 10:23 left in the opening frame.

The Dukes led by as many as 14 at the four-minute mark, but the Tribe held JMU without a field goal for the final three minutes and outscored the Dukes 15-4 over the final 3:43. Burchfield knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during the run, while Knight scored four points. Cohn fast-break lay-up, which counted due to a JMU goaltend, with 0.5 seconds left to cut the margin to 41-38 at the intermission.

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The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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