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George Washington guard Patricio Garino accounted for the Colonials final five points, including a pair of clinching free throws following a key steal with six seconds left, to stave off James Madison University 54-53 in a non-conference men's basketball game on Wednesday night at the JMU Convocation Center.
GW evened its record at 3-3 and improved to 7-2 in the all-time series while JMU dropped to 1-5 for the season with its third straight defeat.
It was a tightly-contested second half featuring 10 lead changes and five tie scores as neither team could build an advantage larger than four points. GW led 49-48 when Garino hit a key open three-point field goal from the right baseline with 2:09 on the clock to put the Colonials up by four.
Freshman guard Andre Nation hit a layup for JMU to cut the margin in half. Freshman guard Charles Cooke stole the ball back for the Dukes 18 seconds later, but senior Alioune Diouf couldn't convert a good look at a three from the right wing while trying to give Madison the lead.
JMU's defense came through with a stop on the next GW possession. However, the Colonials were able to run the clock all the way down to 15 seconds thanks to three of their 16 offensive rebounds on the night.
Diouf tried to put up a contested hook shot in the paint in transition but had his shot swatted out of bounds with 7.2 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds play in front of the JMU bench, senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) had his entry pass stolen by Garino, who sank a pair of free throws to clinch the road win for GW. Nation banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to account for the 54-53 final.
Nation filled up the box score with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting for JMU to go along with five steals, four blocks, four rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes. Moore accumulated five assists to climb from fifth to a tie for third in school history with 354 career assists, matching Ben Gordon (1986-88). Diouf added eight points and six boards.
JMU continues its five-game home stretch with a 4 p.m. contest on Saturday hosting Winthrop.