Clutch free throws down the stretch by junior guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) sealed a 67-66 comeback win over Towson on Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center to open Colonial Athletic Association action.
The win moves Madison to 10-2 overall and 1-0 in the CAA while the Tigers fall to 4-9 on the season with an 0-1 mark in conference play. The victory marked the Dukes’ second double-digit come-from-behind victory of the season.
After two made free throws from Towson forward Latorri Hines-Allen with 25 seconds to play, Hall drove the lane and drew a foul with 18 seconds on the clock. The junior knocked down both free throws and the JMU defense came up with a stop on the defensive side of the ball to secure its 12th home win in a row against a CAA opponent and 16th consecutive overall win inside the Convo.
The Dukes’ first lead of the contest came with 11:41 to play in the game after the Tigers rushed out of the gate to a 13-point advantage at 15-2, their largest lead of the day, with 11:53 to go in the first half.
Driving to the basket, junior guard Angela Mickens (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) made a layup and was fouled, sending the Convocation Center into a frenzy for the first time on the afternoon after a quiet first half. She knocked down the ensuing free throw that jumpstarted a 10-0 run for the Dukes. At the conclusion of the run, JMU had its largest lead of the game at 50-42.
The Dukes held the lead until the first possession after the final media timeout when Hines-Allen made a layup to even the score at 61-61. After an empty JMU possession, Hines-Allen knocked down another jumper to give Towson a 63-61 lead with 3:17 to play.
Senior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) pulled the two sides back even on a layup with 2:29 to play but, after a foul on junior guard Ashley Perez (Manchester, Conn./Manchester (St. John’s)), Shanea Butler knocked down one of her two free throws to put the Tigers up 64-63.
With 43 seconds to go, Mickens regained the lead for the Dukes with a layup in the paint, giving JMU a 65-64 advantage. Driving the other way, Hines-Allen capped her 31-point day with the two free throws to put Towson up 66-65, but Hall capped her 13-point afternoon just seven seconds later with the game-winning free throws.
Madison was led by three players in double figures, as redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor (Hampden, Conn./Hopkins School (Providence)) scored a team-high 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds while Hall’s 13 points and Giggetts’ 11-point afternoon rounded out the double-figure scoring for the Dukes. Both Mickens and junior forward Destiny Jones(Miramar, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy) finished with eight points while Perez had seven points and redshirt-junior guardJazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty), who battled foul trouble down the stretch, chipped in six points. Mickens finished with a game-high nine assists.
Hines-Allen’s game-high 31 points led the way for the Tigers while Dominique Johnson was the only other Towson player to finish in double figures with 15 points and six assists. Hines-Allen was the only player to pull down double-digit rebounds, grabbing 10 in the game. Ciara Webb, who battled foul trouble all afternoon, finished with seven points while pulling down eight rebounds.
The Dukes went 25-of-65 (38.5 percent) in the contest, which included an 11-of-27 clip (40.7 percent) in the first half. Towson, who led 38-30 at halftime, shot 17-of-31 in the first half (54.8 percent) from the field, but the Tigers cooled off in the second half, shooting 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) to finish with a 25-of-54 mark (46.3 percent).
JMU dominated the paint to the tune of a 40-22 advantage below the basket. Madison also took advantage of 14 Towson turnovers by scoring 16 points off the miscues while the Tigers only cashed in with six points on nine JMU turnovers.
The Dukes remain at the Convocation Center next time out on Tuesday, Jan. 6, for a 7 p.m. contest against UNCW. The Seahawks topped William & Mary 63-62 on Sunday afternoon to open CAA play. With her first basket of Tuesday’s game, Giggetts will become the second player this season to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau this season, as she currently sits on 999 points. Hall passed the mark earlier this season in a win on the road at Davidson.