February 20, 2013
Huskies Nip Dukes
By MIKE SCANDURA
BOSTON - How close - how tough - was James Madison's 66-64 loss Wednesday night at Northeastern in a key Colonial Athletic Association game?
This close and this tough.
After JMU's A.J. Davis (21 points) buried a 3-point shot to tie the game at 64 with 18 seconds left in regulation, Northeastern's David Walker (11 points) nailed a jumper from the left base line with 2.4 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing play, Davis threw up a prayer-of-a-trey that fell short. But Andre Nation tipped in the ball just barely after the buzzer sounded. Following a review, the officials ruled that Nation's tip-in was too late, which sent the Dukes (16-13 overall, 10-6 in the CAA) home with an excruciating loss.
"I didn't think it was good live and then they checked it on the monitor," Northeastern coach Bill Coen said. "It was too close for comfort for me.
"That's a difficult play. I thought A.J. Davis had a great game. He's a terrific player. He was kind of running away from the basket. But it's usually the rebound that beats you on that. There just wasn't enough time on the clock."
Devon Moore added 12 points for JMU, while Alioune Diouf scored 11.
Quincy Ford (14), Reggie Spencer (13) and Walker each finished in double figures for the Huskies (18-10, 13-3) who clinched at least a share of the CAA title.
Conversely, the loss erased any chance the Dukes had of overtaking the Huskies for the regular-season title and lumped them in with a group of teams that are scrambling for a favorable seed in the upcoming CAA tournament.
"There's no doubt that mish-mash is a good word because it could end up any which-way," JMU coach Matt Brady said of the congestion that exists at the top of the conference.
"We had our work cut out for us tonight. We could end up almost anywhere.
"We have to figure out a way to get a win on Saturday [at home versus Georgia State]. It's Senior Day and we have a lot of seniors who've meant a lot to our program. We're looking forward to Saturday. Then, we'll get back in the gym tomorrow and work on a few things that will help us get better."
Ironically, JMU was better than Northeastern in several categories.
The Dukes outrebounded the Huskies 29-22, scored 17 points off 12 turnovers as compared with 13 points off 10 miscues for Northeastern and outscored their opponent 26-18 in the paint.
"We're disappointed at the loss, but we're not disappointed with our effort," Brady said. "I don't know that we always played as smart as we would have liked to have played.
"I give Northeastern all the credit in the world. I thought they made all their free throws [Northeastern was 18-for-20 at the line]. We made some mistakes against their pressure in the first half. We didn't make them in the second half. I thought we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game. But when it really mattered, I think the better team won in the last few seconds of the game."
Northeastern led 32-26 at halftime but the Dukes rallied behind Charles Cooke and Davis and built their largest lead of the game at 54-48. But the Huskies converted 13 consecutive free throws for a 63-61 lead.
Moore then missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:17 left and, following an exchange of turnovers, Northeastern's Jonathon Lee hit only the back end of a two-shot foul for a 64-61 lead that set the stage for Davis' clutch trey.
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