Streaking JMU makes it five of six
Senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) scored all 13 of his points in the final 11 minutes to lead James Madison to a 62-59 non-conference men’s basketball win over San Diego in the final game of the Vegas Holiday Hoops event on Sunday afternoon at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
JMU went 2-0 on its Vegas trip and won for the fifth time in six games to even its record at 6-6. USD fell to 6-8 and went 0-2 during the weekend at MGM Grand.
Moore was scoreless until a pair of free throws with 10:55 to go. From there, he scored eight straight JMU points, 12 of 15 and 13 of the final 20. Moore went 7-for-8 at the foul line.
Senior forward Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) had 15 points, including nine in the second half while senior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community School) added 11 to go with a season-best four steals while playing shutdown defense on USD sharpshooter Johnny Dee in the second half.
JMU fought from an early 9-0 hole to take a 33-30 lead into the locker room. The Dukes held a lead of between one and five points until a 44-44 tie at the 10:35 mark. Led by Moore, Madison pushed the lead back up to six at 50-44 before a three-point play and a made three-point field goal for the Toreros tied it again at 50-50.
The teams exchanged a pair of leads over the next few minutes. Ken Rancifer’s jumper gave San Diego a 54-53 lead with 5:11 to go. Traded baskets kept the Toreros in front until the 1:54 mark when a pair of free throws by Goins gave Madison the lead for good.
After trading baskets on the previous trips down the court, both teams turned in a pair of empty possessions to keep it a one-point game. Freshman guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) came through with a big steal with 30 seconds left. Moore answered with 1-of-2 made free throws for a two-point lead.
Rancifer was fouled on the next USD possession with 7.1 seconds left but missed the first attempt and converted the second to make it a one-point game. With the Toreros trapping, JMU was able to break the press and found Davis for a capping slam with 1.1 seconds to go to clinch the 62-59 win.
Dee led all players with 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting for the Toreros. Chris Manresa had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds while Rancifer added 11 points.
JMU shot 46 percent from the floor while USD shot 44 percent. Both teams struggled from the arc with the Dukes going 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) and the Toreros at 3-for-13 (23 percent). The Dukes negated the Toreros’ advantage in the paint (24-18) by converting eight more free throws (18-for-24 compared to 10-for-15).
The Dukes dug an early hole in the game, trailing 9-0 four minutes into the contest. Freshman guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) finally got the offense in rhythm with eight of Madison’s first 10 points with his three-pointer at the 13:51 mark being the first field goal for the Dukes.
Trailing 19-12 halfway through the period, JMU reeled off 10 unanswered points with a pair of buckets each by Davis and Cooke along with a tip-in by freshman forward Taylor Bessick (Philadelphia, Pa./Rise Academy) as the Dukes moved in front 22-19. JMU maintained a modest lead most of the rest of the period while taking a 33-30 lead into the break.
After the slow start, JMU rebounded to shoot 50 percent in the half with balanced scoring. Curry led the way with eight followed by Cooke with seven and Davis and Goins with six apiece. Dee had 11 in the half for the Toreros.
With the 2-0 mark in Vegas, the Dukes head home to see family over the holidays and don’t resume action until Jan. 2 when they open Colonial Athletic Association play at Old Dominion at 7 p.m.