JMU Edges Delaware 58-57 To Reach CAA Title Game
RICHMOND, Va. - A pair of Devon Moore free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining gave No. 3 seed James Madison a 58-57 victory over No. 2 seed Delaware in the semifinals of the CAA Men's Basketball Championship, presented by Jani-King. The victory sent the Dukes to their first CAA Championship game since 1997. JMU scored the game's final seven points in overcoming a six-point deficit with three minutes remaining.
With the game knotted at 51, Delaware scored six straight points to regain the lead. Carl Baptiste, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds, muscled in a lay-up to put the Blue Hens back on top, and he capped the spurt with a bucket at the 2:54 mark. Andre Nation answered with a three-pointer from the right wing to draw the Dukes back within three. A pair of A.J. Davis free throws at the 1:22 mark narrowed the gap to 57-56.
A block from Baptiste with 15 seconds remaining on a Nation drive preserved the Delaware advantage, but the Dukes got another opportunity following a Blue Hens' turnover. This time Moore drove the right side of the lane and was fouled. The senior guard knocked down both free throws to put the Dukes back on top 58-57 with 3.7 seconds remaining. Delaware had one more chance at it, but Devon Saddler's 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired was off the mark.
Davis led JMU with 16 points and four steals, while Moore produced 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Along with scoring 12 points, Nation turned in an impressive defensive effort against Saddler, the CAA's leading scorer. Nation blocked five shots and held Saddler to a season-low seven points on 3-of-14 shooting, ending his 38-game double-digit scoring streak. Jamelle Hagins turned in his 16th double-double of the season for the Blue Hens with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
JMU opened up its largest lead of the game with a 13-2 run spanning the end of the first half and the opening two and a half minutes of the second. A Moore lob to Davis for a fast-break dunk, extended the Dukes' lead to 35-25 and forced a Delaware timeout less than three minutes into the frame.
Delaware responded with six straight points to draw back within four. Saddler recorded his first field goal of the night at the 16:16 mark on a driving lay-up, before Jarvis Threatt fed Hagins for a cutting dunk to force a JMU timeout and close the gap to 35-31.
With JMU leading 46-41 with 9:15 left, Delaware reeled off 10 straight points, highlighted by the play of Threatt. He scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer from the right side to put the Blue Hens on top at 47-46. A Hagins offensive putback gave Delaware its largest lead at 51-46 with 6:42 remaining.
The Dukes ripped off five straight points to draw even. Nation knocked down a pair from the free throw line, before an A.J. Davis steal led to a fast-break lay-up. On the play, Davis was intentionally fouled, and he hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to tie the contest at 51 with five minutes left.
James Madison finished the contest shooting 37.7 percent (20-of-53) from the field and connected on 70 percent (14-of-20) from the free throw line. The Dukes finished with 11 steals and seven blocked shots as a team. Delaware shot 35.7 percent (20-of-56) from the field, while shooting 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the charity stripe. The Blue Hens held a 45-27 advantage on the glass, but turned the ball over 16 times.
In a nip-and-tuck first half that featured four ties and eight lead changes, JMU took a 29-25 lead into the break, scoring seven of the half's final nine points. Kyle Anderson kept the Blue Hens within striking distance thanks to 11 first-half points. His 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 2:50 mark gave UD a 23-22 advantage.
Moore answered with back-to-back buckets, including a nifty scoop shot to beat the shot clock with 1:29 left. A pair of Ron Curry free throws gave JMU the four-point halftime advantage. Despite shooting 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from the floor with 11 turnovers, the Blue Hens were able to stay close thanks to a 9-of-11 effort from the free throw line. JMU finished the opening half at 37 percent (10-of-27) from the field to go with seven steals.
In the early going, Davis scored seven of the JMU's first nine points, including a 3-pointer just over five minutes into the contest that put the Dukes on top 9-6. The Blue Hens pieced together an 8-2 run to take the lead. Josh Brinkley capped the run with a dunk midway through the opening 20 minutes, giving Delaware a 14-11 advantage.
JMU, which went to six championship finals over an eight-year stretch from 1990-97, advances to the title game on Monday night where it will face No. 1 seed Northeastern. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip from the Richmond Coliseum and will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
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