JMU pulls upset at VCU

Sophomore guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) led four James Madison players in double figures and scored 11 of JMU’s final 17 points in a 72-69 win at VCU in the final Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game of the regular season on Saturday afternoon at the Siegel Center.

JMU improved to 21-10 overall and finished at 10-8 in the CAA. The Dukes won in the Siegel Center for the first time since 2005 and tied the program record for road wins with 10 (1981-82). VCU fell to 21-10 overall and 12-6 in the CAA. After being tied for first two and a half weeks ago, the Rams dropped their final four league games, including three at home.

JMU was in front for the entire second half aside from a pair of ties. After its highest scoring first half of the season and first halftime lead in a month (43-41), Madison pulled ahead 57-48 on a Moore layup with 15:22 to go.

VCU answered back with a 10-1 run to tie the score at 58-58 with 11 minutes to go, keeping the Dukes without a field goal for five minutes.

JMU held VCU without a field goal for over 10 minutes from the 14-minute mark until a long jumper by senior guard Joey Rodriguez with 3:54 to go. However, JMU was ahead just 67-65 thanks to made free throws by VCU (10-for-14 second half) and missed chances by the Dukes (6-for-14 second half). The free-throw struggles included three straight misses on the front end of one-and-one chances.

Up by two with four minutes to go, Moore missed a jumper, but VCU’s Bradford Burgess also came up empty at the three-minute mark. Moore hit 1-of-2 free throws on the next JMU possession, which was answered by a made layup by Burgess.

The teams traded possessions again with a Moore layup at the 1:31 mark and a Skeen layup with 42 seconds to go with JMU ahead 70-69.

Facing full-court pressure as it had for much of the game, JMU used its last timeout with 36 seconds to go. The Dukes broke the press and junior forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) drove the paint, finding junior forward Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) for an open layin with 18.6 seconds on the clock.

On VCU’s final possession, a three by Brandon Rozzell was tipped by JMU sophomore forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School). Rozzell gathered the rebound and fired an off-balance three with JMU senior forward Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) corralling the long rebound to clinch the 72-69 win.

Moore finished with 18 points, four rebounds, and five assists, breaking the JMU record for assists by a sophomore with 130. Bowles narrowly missed a double-double with 14 points and nine boards, matching the JMU single-season rebounding record with 279 (Steve Stielper 1976-77).

Junior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) hit 4-of-5 three-pointers to finish with 12 points for JMU. Wells, playing his 100th career game, tallied 11 points while Goins added nine points and seven rebounds.

Forward Jamie Skeen led all players with 20 points and six boards for VCU. Burgess added 17 points and guard Ed Nixon posted 14, with 12 coming on four first-half threes.

JMU shot at least 50% in each half to finish at 50.9% for the game (27-53). The Dukes hit 6-of-9 three-pointers but went just 12-for-21 (57%) at the charity stripe. VCU was held to 40% shooting from the floor, including 33% (9-of-27) from the arc.

VCU led for much of the early part of the first half until JMU took its first lead on a putback of an offensive rebound by Jackson. The Dukes trailed 29-27 when they went on a 7-0 run to go up 34-29 with 3:32 to go.

Then with JMU ahead 37-34, VCU responded with a 7-0 run of its own to grab a 41-37 lead and force a Dukes’ timeout on a Burgess three in the right corner.

Out of the timeout, JMU had one more run in the half. A Jackson layup and pair of Jackson free throws were followed by a Semenov steal, which led to a Moore layup. That ended the half on a 6-0 run for the Dukes and a 43-41 lead at the break. It was JMU’s first halftime lead in a month when it led Drexel 22-21 at home on Jan. 26.

Hitchens led a balanced JMU offense in the first half with three field goals from beyond the arc. Skeen and Nixon had 12 points apiece in the opening half for VCU with Nixon’s points coming on a quartet of three-pointers.


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