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JMU roundup: Dukes pick up NCAA First Four victory


Daily Staff Reports - sports@nvdaily.com

DAYTON, Ohio -- Freshman guard Andre Nation scored 15 points and added seven rebounds, four assists and a career-high five blocks as the James Madison men's basketball earned its first NCAA Tournament win in over 30 years on Wednesday.

JMU defeated LIU Brooklyn 68-55 in the NCAA First Four at the University Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

The Dukes advance to Friday's Second Round as it takes on the Region's top seed, Indiana, at 4:10 p.m. They improved to 21-14 while dropping LIU to 20-14.

It had been 30 years and three days since James Madison defeated Ohio State in the 1983 tournament. Joining Nation in double figures for the Dukes were senior guard A.J. Davis with a game-high 20 and freshman guard Charles Cooke with 15. Redshirt senior forward Rayshawn Goins had a team-best eight rebounds and redshirt senior guard Devon Moore handed out six assists.

NEC Player of the Year Jamal Olasewere finished with a double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead the Blackbirds. C.J. Garner chipped in 16 points and four rebounds while Jasmon Brickman led all players with nine assists.

LIU took its only lead of the game, jumping ahead 40-39 with 15:02 remaining in the game on a pair of free throws by E.J. Reed. The Dukes only trailed for 44 seconds before embarking on a 9-0 run spurred by defense and transition buckets. They received fast break layups by Moore, Nation, Davis and Cooke, capping off the run with a three-point play by Cooke.

LIU trimmed the lead back to three following a steal and a layup by Olasewere, but JMU closed the game on a 14-4 run to end the threat.

Madison outrebounded LIU 27-15 in the second half and limited its opponent to just 23.3-percent shooting after the break. The Blackbirds were just 7-of-30 from the field in the second half, including missing all seven of their attempts behind the arc. In contrast, the Dukes shot 48.3-percent (14-29) after the break.

Despite not appearing in the NCAA tournament in 19 years, JMU looked comfortable from the tip, grabbing a 10-2 lead at the first media timeout. By the 11-minute mark, the lead was 20-8 with Davis leading all players with eight points. Cooke added a pair of three-pointers to add six points.

Cooke made two of his five three-point attempts and was 3-for-3 from the free throw line to finish one point shy of his career-high.

Nation helped set a JMU-season-high of 10 blocks by tying his career-high with five. He came into the tournament as one of only three guards averaging more than a block per game. He is one of only seven players in the country to accumulate more than 40 blocks, steals and assists.

The Dukes continued to play solid defense in the first half, forcing several turnovers and blocking a quartet of shots to head into the final timeout with a 30-18 advantage. The Blackbirds responded over the final 3:38 of the half with a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to just one heading into halftime.

Cooke led all players at the break with 10 points, making four of his five shots. Davis had eight points while Nation chipped in with seven, three rebounds and two blocks. Moore contributed five of the team's eight assists and had three points.

Garner made four of his seven shots to lead LIU with eight points. Brickman, the nation's leader in assists, handed out six in the first two while Olasewere had six points on 3-of-6 shooting, but picked up his third foul late in the first half.

Softball

HARRISONBURG -- The James Madison softball team swept Princeton in a home doubleheader on Wednesday behind solid pitching and opponent errors, winning game one 1-0 and game two 2-0. The Dukes improve to 18-7 while the Tigers fall to 10-8.

Freshman left-hander Jailyn Ford picked up her eighth win of the season in game one with a complete-game shutout. She surrendered just two hits and one walk, striking out six Tigers. Sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer pitched a complete-game shutout in game two for her sixth win of the season, giving up three hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

In game one, Shanna Christian took the loss to fall to 4-3 on the spring as she gave up one earned run and struck out nine. Liza Kuhn is credited with the loss in game two after allowing two runs (one earned) over two innings pitched.

The Tigers were also done in by errors as they committed six on Wednesday (three per game) to the Dukes' two on the day.

Sophomore utility player Sara Mooney blasted her eighth home run this season in game two's sixth inning to put the Dukes up 2-0. The shot over the left field wall was the 17th of her career and moved her into a tie for fourth all-time in JMU history.

Junior utility player Catherine Clavin powered the offense in the fifth inning, reaching base with an infield single and advancing to second when the Princeton shortstop was unable to field the ball cleanly. The Dukes brought in junior Brittany Jeans to pinch run and scored off of senior utility player Haley Johnson.

Johnson reached when the third baseman committed a fielding error and then overthrew the first baseman.

Clavin was also responsible for kick-starting the offense in game one when she doubled into the left field corner in the bottom of the third. Freshman utility player Hannah Hayes knocked a double of her own into left field to plate Clavin for the go-ahead run.

Posting two hits on the day was senior center fielder Jasmine Butler. After a single to third base in game one and a triple to right center in game two, she is now just one hit away from the 200-hit club.

Also posting hits for the Dukes were freshman utility player Erica Field and sophomore outfielder Morgan Heath. Field had a single to right field in game one and Heath singled through the right side in game two.

For Princeton, Alex Peyton led with two hits on the day, one each game. Alyssa Schmidt was the only other Tiger with a hit in game one while Cara Worden and Danielle Allen each posted hits in game two.

JMU hits the road to open Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend as the Dukes face the Towson Tigers in a Saturday doubleheader and a Sunday matinee. First pitch on March 23 is set for noon.

Women's lacrosse

HARRISONBURG -- The No. 9 Virginia women's lacrosse team dominated No. 19 James Madison, earning a 10-3 road victory.

After 13 scoreless minutes to start the game, Courtney Swan scored the first goal of the game, netting a free position shot after drawing a whistle away from the ball. Morgan Stephens doubled UVa's advantage, slinging in a shot from the right side after a receiving a pass from Ashlee Warner. Stephens returned the favor at the 4:25 mark, setting up Warner for a goal to give the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead, the same advantage they held at the start of the second half.

Virginia struck quickly after the halftime break with Casey Bocklet lobbing the ball over the defense to Caroline McTiernan positioned right in front of the net 2:27 into the period.

With 25:08 left in the game, Swan broke up field on a fast break, passing the ball up ahead to Bocklet, who was positioned right in front of the goal to give UVa a 5-0 advantage.

After the Dukes scored their first goal of the game with 23:52 remaining, Warner and

Swan answered at the 22:52 mark. JMU scored its second goal with 21:25 remaining only to have Stephens win the ensuing draw control and zip a pass to Swan who scored ten seconds later to make it 7-2 UVa.

James Madison scored its final goal with 15:49 left in the game. Virginia netted three more goals, including a feed from Bocklet to Stephens six seconds after coming back from a time out and a goal from Warner with 1:24 left in the game.

Liz Colgan played the complete game in goal. In her first start of the season, Colgan logged seven and held the Dukes scoreless in the first half.

Stephens scored three goals with an assist, her second hat trick of the season. Swan had two goals, three assists, five draw controls, and two caused turnovers.



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