JMU mounts furious rally, but VCU holds on for 82-81 win
Junior forward Vince Williams hit a crucial step-back jumper in the final minute and flirted with a double-double as VCU held off comeback-minded James Madison Tuesday, 82-81, for the Rams’ fifth straight victory.
Williams led VCU with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in 33 minutes of action. He connected on 5-of-10 attempts from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
Sophomore guard Bones Hyland also dropped 15 for the Black & Gold, while junior guard KeShawn Curry, in his first game back following a shoulder injury on Dec. 2, poured in 13 points off the bench.
Freshman point guard Ace Baldwin supplied eight points and handed out a career-high 10 assists for VCU (7-2).
CAA Preseason Player of the Year Matt Lewis paced the Dukes (3-3) with 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists
VCU built a 21-point first half lead behind a defense that forced 14 turnovers and limited the Dukes to 39 percent shooting (10-of-26) in the opening period, but JMU used a 9-0 burst to close within 77-74 with 1:30 remaining.
On the ensuing possession, the left-handed Williams buried a step-back 17-footer from the right elbow with 41 seconds remaining and the shot clock running low to keep the Dukes at bay.
The Rams hit 3-of-4 free throws in the remaining moments to clinch the victory.
VCU is scheduled to kick off Atlantic 10 Conference play on Wednesday, Dec. 30 against Saint Joseph’s at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia, Pa. The game is scheduled to tip-off at noon on NBC Sports Washington.