Late bucket lifts Hofstra over JMU, 71-69
Hofstra junior guard Stevie Mejia converted a three-point play with 6.1 seconds remaining to lift the Pride to a 71-69 win over James Madison in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.
JMU fell to 9-10 overall and 2-6 in CAA play while Hofstra improved to 7-13 overall and picked up its first lead victory to sit at 1-7 in conference action. The Pride snapped a six-game overall losing streak.
Trailing 68-66 under one minute remaining, senior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) found freshman Enoch Hood (Norfolk, Va./Booker T. Washington) under the basket for his fourth dunk of the game to tie the score with 17 seconds remaining. Hood was fouled on the play and added a free throw to give the Dukes the lead.
Mejia, who had committed the foul to allow Hood to give the Dukes the lead, drove from the left elbow and pulled up for the running layup at the left block with 6.1 seconds on the clock. He made it a three-point play with the ensuing free throw to make it 71-69.
Junior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) pushed the ball up the left side and dribbled to the top of the arc. He lost control of the ball when he was double teamed, and the Dukes were unable to get off a shot before the final buzzer.
Forward Nathaniel Lester led Hofstra with 23 points and five rebounds. David Imes added 14 points with 11 in the first half. Mike Moore added 10 points for Hofstra, half of his league-leading average of 20.1 points per game entering the day.
Junior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community) had one of his best all-around performances, posting his seventh game of 20 or more points with a team high of 24. He matched the career high he set on Wednesday at UNCW with eight rebounds while also doubling his previous personal best with seven assists to go along with one block and two steals.
Freshman guard Arman Marks (Louisville, Ky./Eastern) had a career highs of 14 points and five steals while going 4-for-6 from the three-point arc. Hitchens also had 14 points while hitting 3-of-5 from downtown and added eight assists.
Hofstra led for the majority of the season half, sitting in front by as much as seven at 49-42 with 11:23 remaining. The Dukes chipped away at the deficit and tied the game at 55-55 on a three-point field goal by Marks with 6:27 remaining.
The Pride had a quick response with a three by Shemiye McLendon followed by an offensive tip-in by Moussa Kone to make it 60-55 with five to go.
Hofstra still led 65-61 with 1:45 on the clock when Madison made its final push. Davis drove from the right elbow for a layup and added the free throw after being fouled, cutting the margin to 65-64. After Mike Moore lost the ball out of bounds, Davis found Hood for a dish and dunk to give JMU its first lead in nearly 16 minutes at 66-65 with 1:16 on the clock. The Pride responded with a three by Lester with one minute remaining to go up 68-66 and set up the final series of plays.
Hofstra shot 52 percent for the game while reaching at least 50 percent in each half. The Pride also hit 4-of-10 three-pointers and went 13-for-18 at the line (72 percent). JMU shot 41 percent for the game but made up for the field goal percentage deficit by going 9-for-21 (43 percent) at the arc. The Dukes shot 78 percent (14-for-18) at the charity stripe.
In the first half, Hofstra limited JMU to a pair of long dry spells on offense. With the game tied 4-4 after a Davis dunk, the Pride went on a 9-0 run and held JMU off the board for nearly six minutes to move up 13-4 at the 13-minute mark until another dunk and a three-pointer by Davis snapped the skid.
The Dukes moved in front 18-15 on a three by Marks until the Pride reeled off a second 9-0 run, holding Madison scoreless for over four minutes while taking a 24-18 lead.
Hofstra sat in front 30-25 when the Dukes closed the half with a Davis layup and two free throws by Moore to account for a 30-29 advantage for the visitors at the break. Davis had 12 points in the half for the Dukes while Imes registered 11 for Hofstra, which held a 30-23 rebounding advantage in the half.
JMU hits the road for a Monday 7 p.m. game at Georgia State before returning to the Convocation Center on Thursday for an 8 p.m. game against William and Mary televised on Comcast SportsNet.
NOTES: Hofstra held a commanding 37-26 advantage in rebounds… the teams split the season series with JMU winning 62-60 on a Hitchens’ jumper with 2.8 seconds left, meaning both games were decided on game-winning baskets with less than seven seconds left… Hofstra leads the series 13-5 while winning 13 of the last 14 games… six of the last seven games in the series have been decided by three points or less… JMU fell to 0-4 at home in conference games… Hood posted all nine of his points in the second half after being limited to four minutes in the first half due to a pair of quick fouls… JMU had 20 assists for the game, its second-highest of the season… Devon Moore moved into a tie for 10th in career assists at JMU with 274, matching Jeff Chambers (1989-93) and Pat Dosh (1974-78).