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Dramatic rally lifts JMU to one-point win

Freshman guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) sank two free throws with eight seconds left to cap a wild sequence as James Madison pulled out a 69-68 win over Youngstown State on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Progressive Legends Classic at Duquesne’s A.J. Palumbo Center.

JMU improved to 1-2 overall while YSU fell to 3-2, 0-2 in the Duquesne subregional.

The Dukes trailed for all but two of the 40 minutes in the game.  They were down 66-60 with 1:14 when Cooke hit a 12-foot jumper.  After a pair of missed free throws by Blake Allen for the Penguins, freshman guard Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian) hit a layup from senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) to cut the margin to two with 28 seconds left.

Allen made two free throws to reclaim a four-point advantage at 68-64, but senior Alioune Diouf (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) nailed a three-pointer from the top to make it 68-67.

Against the ensuing JMU press, YSU broke through for a two-on-one break with forward Damian Eargle attacking the basket instead of pulling it out to run off time.  Eargle missed the layup and a putback chance also rolled off the rim into the arms of freshman guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI).

Madison found itself in a two-on-one break as Curry passed in transition to Diouf, who found Cooke cutting in for the layup.  Fouled with eight seconds left, Cooke calmly swished both attempts for the 69-68 lead.  A 15-foot fade-away baseline attempt by Kendrick Perry at the buzzer caromed long to give JMU the win.

Senior forward Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) led Madison with 21 points, his third 20-point game of the season, along with seven rebounds and three assists.  Diouf, who had just one career 10-point game in three years, reached the mark for the second straight day with 15 points and six rebounds.  Cooke finished with 11 points while Nation added 10 points and three steals.

YSU ran most of its offense through Eargle in the second half as he finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots to lead five Penguins in double figures.  Kamren Belin had a double-double with 10 points, 12 boards and four assists.  Allen finished with 14 points while Perry and Shawn Amiker each totaled 12.

After the Dukes trailed for the entire first half, they started the second half on an 11-3 run to take their first lead at 36-35 on a Diouf lay-in with 16:38 remaining.  The Penguins went up again by as much as seven at 49-42 with 10:22 left, but free throws by Nation, a three-point play by Diouf and free throws by Goins tied it at 49-49.  JMU took a one-point lead on a jumper by Cooke, but again YSU pressed back and went up by as much as six, where the margin sat at 66-60 with 1:14 left when the Dukes made their move.

JMU led the rebounding battle 32-30 and committed just two second-half turnovers while hauling in seven steals.  Thanks to Cooke and Nation, the Dukes enjoyed a 21-3 advantage in points off the bench. JMU won despite hitting just four of its 17 attempts (23.5 percent) from the arc.  YSU had eight made three-pointers.

Youngstown State led from the opening tip and held a 14-12 advantage nine minutes into the period.  The Penguins then held the Dukes to one field goal over the next six minutes to build their lead to 22-14 with 4:54 to go.  YSU continued to push the lead to a high of 11 at 32-21 before JMU closed the half with four points for a 32-25 score at the break.

JMU was hindered by seven turnovers in the half and hit just one of its nine tries from the arc while hitting eight of its 12 other tries from the field.  The Dukes were helped by a 9-2 advantage in personal fouls called, hitting 6-of-9 at the stripe.

Goins led a balanced JMU offense in the half with seven points while Amiker had eight for YSU.

JMU closes action in the Duquesne subregional of the Progressive Legends Classic on Wednesday afternoon with a 4:30 p.m. game against North Dakota State.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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