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WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The James Madison basketball team fought back a pesky University of North Carolina-Wilmington effort by hitting all eight free throws in the final minute of play to seal a 63-56 Colonial Athletic Association road win at Trask Coliseum on Monday night.
With just their second road victory in nine tries, the Dukes improved to 12-10 and 6-3 in the league, good sole possession of second place currently, while the Seahawks fell to 8-12 and 3-5 in the conference.
Tied at 42 with 8:30 to go in the game, JMU went on an 8-2 run over 2:45 to take a 50-44 lead with 5:14 to play in the game, a lead they would never relinquish. After a UNCW bucket cut it to four, JMU pushed it back to seven on senior guard Devon Moore's 3-pointer, with the margin remaining a two-possession game until the final minute of the contest on a 3-pointer by Seahawks guard Chris Dixon. However, the Dukes closed the door with eight straight made free throws in the final minutes, including four straight by freshman guard Andre Nation, for the victory.
Both teams were similar in field goal percentage, as Madison was 40 percent (22-for-55) and UNCW finished at 39.6 percent (21-for-53). JMU won the battle of the boards 42-30 and converted it to a 19-9 advantage in second-chance points. However, the free-throw line was the difference, with the Dukes finishing the game 15-for-23.
Moore led the Dukes with 19 points in the game, 15 of them coming in the second half, including a spurt where he scored eight out of 10 points for JMU. Senior forward Rayshawn Goins had his 12th career double-double of the year with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Nation also chipped in 11. UNCW senior forward Keith Rendleman led all scorers with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Dixon added 16.
After UNCW jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first half, Madison rallied. Trailing 26-19 with 5:35 to go in the first half, UNCW held JMU scoreless for the next 7:42 and went on a 12-0 run spanning the end of the first and start of the second half to take a 31-26 lead with just more than 18 minutes to go in the contest. The Seahawks' lead continued until Moore scored five straight in the game and eight of the last 10 for JMU to put the Dukes up 41-40 with 10:17 to go. From there, the game was tied at 42, setting up the battle in the final minutes.
Now 9-1 when leading at halftime, the Dukes return home on Thursday to host the Hofstra Pride in another key CAA matchup. Tipoff at the Convocation Center is set for 7 p.m.
Nation collects CAA rookie honor
James Madison freshman guard Andre Nation was honored for the second time this season as Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week after leading James Madison men's basketball to a pair of home victories last week.
Nation averaged 13 points and 6.5 rebounds last week to lead JMU to a pair of home CAA victories. He scored 12 points to go along with five rebounds in JMU's 64-50 win over Delaware on Wednesday and followed that with a team-high 14 points and career-best eight rebounds in the win over Old Dominion on Saturday. He also had two assists and two blocks.
Nation helped fuel a JMU defense that limited its two opponents to a combined .305 field goal percentage. The Dukes outrebounded two of the CAA's top four rebounding squads. Overall, JMU ran its home winning streak to five games and climbed into a tie for second place in the CAA standings at 5-3 in the league (11-10 overall).
The weekly honor was the second this season for Nation, who was also selected on Dec. 10. Entering Monday night's game at UNCW, Nation ranked 27th in the CAA in scoring with 9.1 points per game, which also ranks second among freshmen. He also sat 13th in free throw percentage (.758), ninth in steals (1.5/game) and seventh in blocked shots (1.4/game).
Nation shared the CAA Rookie honor with Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter, who averaged 18 points and four rebounds in a 2-1 week for the Panthers.
James Madison women's basketball players Kirby Burkholder and Precious Hall have been honored by the Colonial Athletic Association for the week ending Jan. 27.
Burkholder was selected Player of the Week, and Hall was chosen Rookie of the Week following a four-day period in which the Dukes posted wins at George Mason and Hofstra. JMU won 71-55 at Mason on Jan. 24 and took an 85-62 home victory over Hofstra on Jan. 27. The Dukes extended their win streak to five games, improved their record to 12-7 and moved into a tie for second place in the CAA standings with a 6-1 league record.
Burkholder tied with Hall for game scoring honors with 20 points at George Mason and also handed out three assists and had two steals. She topped that with a career-high and game-high 28 points against Hofstra. She also had a team-high eight rebounds, an assist and two steals vs. the Pride.
She shot 61 percent (14-23) from the field, 73 percent (8-11) from 3-point range and 86 percent (12-14) from the foul line in last week's games.
Hall's 20 points at Mason was a career-high, and she set a JMU freshman record with seven steals vs. the Patriots. She also had six rebounds and three assists in the Mason game. Hall turned in a 16-point, five-rebound performance against Hofstra.
In last week's games Hall shot 50 percent (12-24) from the field and made 36 percent (4-11) of her 3-point attempts and 80 percent (8-10) of her free-throw tries.
Burkholder earned the CAA honor for the second time, and Hall received her fourth rookie honor of the year.
JMU is on the road this week for games at Towson on Jan. 31 and at William and Mary on Feb. 3.