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PITTSBURGH -- Freshman guard Charles Cooke sank two free throws with eight seconds left to cap a wild sequence as James Madison pulled out a 69-68 win over Youngstown State on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Progressive Legends Classic at Duquesne's A.J. Palumbo Center.
JMU improved to 1-2 overall while YSU fell to 3-2, 0-2 in the Duquesne subregional.
The Dukes trailed for all but two of the 40 minutes in the game. They were down 66-60 with 1:14 when Cooke hit a 12-foot jumper. After a pair of missed free throws by Blake Allen for the Penguins, freshman guard Andre Nation hit a layup from senior guard Devon Moore to cut the margin to two with 28 seconds left.
Allen made two free throws to reclaim a four-point advantage at 68-64, but senior Alioune Diouf nailed a 3-pointer from the top to make it 68-67.
Against the ensuing JMU press, Youngstown broke through for a two-on-one break with forward Damian Eargle attacking the basket instead of pulling it out to run off time. Eargle missed the layup and a putback chance also rolled off the rim into the arms of freshman guard Ron Curry.
Madison found itself in a two-on-one break as Curry passed in transition to Diouf, who found Cooke cutting in for the layup. Fouled with eight seconds left, Cooke hit both attempts for the 69-68 lead. A 15-foot fade-away baseline attempt by Kendrick Perry at the buzzer caromed long to give JMU the win.
Senior forward Rayshawn Goins led Madison with 21 points, his third 20-point game of the season, along with seven rebounds and three assists. Diouf, who had just one career 10-point game in three years, reached the mark for the second straight day with 15 points and six rebounds. Cooke finished with 11 points while Nation added 10 points and three steals.
Youngstown ran most of its offense through Eargle in the second half as he finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots to lead five Penguins in double figures. Kamren Belin had a double-double with 10 points, 12 boards and four assists. Allen finished with 14 points while Perry and Shawn Amiker each totaled 12.
After the Dukes trailed for the entire first half, they started the second half on an 11-3 run to take their first lead at 36-35 on a Diouf lay-in with 16:38 remaining. The Penguins went up again by as much as seven at 49-42 with 10:22 left, but free throws by Nation, a three-point play by Diouf and free throws by Goins tied it at 49-49. JMU took a one-point lead on a jumper by Cooke, but again Youngstown pressed back and went up by as much as six, where the margin sat at 66-60 with 1:14 left when the Dukes made their move.
JMU led the rebounding battle 32-30 and committed just two second-half turnovers while hauling in seven steals. Thanks to Cooke and Nation, the Dukes enjoyed a 21-3 advantage in points off the bench. JMU won despite hitting just four of its 17 attempts (23.5 percent) from the arc. Youngstown had eight made 3-pointers.
RICHMOND -- James Madison senior diver Kimberly Helfrich has been named the Colonial Athletic Association Diver of the Week following her performance as last weekend's Nike Cup. This is the fourth time Helfrich has been named the CAA's Diver of the Week this season and the ninth time in her career.
Helfrich led the JMU diving team with a pair of top-two finishes at the Nike Cup hosted by North Carolina last weekend. She finished first on the one-meter board and second in the three-meter event. The senior was the only diver to surpass 300 points in the one-meter, scoring a 302.75. In the three-meter event, she was the top qualifier in preliminaries before scoring a 307.10 to finish in second.
In eight events entered this season, Helfrich has recorded seven first-place finishes and one second-place honor. She has been the conference's Diver of the Week all four times she's been in action.
Madison returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 1 as it hosts Radford and Mount St. Mary's at Savage Natatorium.