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March 18, 2013

Goins Suspended For 1st Half Of NCAA Game

In a quote that has come to characterize James Madison's first trip to the NCAA basketball tournament in 19 years, Dukes senior power forward Rayshawn Goins pronounced, "It's about damn time!" following the Colonial Athletic Association title game last week.

Goins will have to wait an extra 20 minutes before his time arrives.

JMU suspended its leading scorer and rebounder for the first half of Wednesday's opening-round game against Long Island Brooklyn after Harrisonburg police officers arrested Goins on Sunday night on two misdemeanor charges: disorderly conduct and trying to "intimidate or impede law-enforcement" at a party near campus after midnight Saturday.

Dukes coach Matt Brady said he endorsed the punishment.

"I think it's the right thing to do for the athletic department and I'm OK with it," Brady said late Monday afternoon, shortly after a JMU spokesman sent an e-mail notifying the media of Goins' penalty.

Although the charges against Goins, 24, are only misdemeanors, the situation became a national story because of its timing two days before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Police arrested Goins at the Convocation Center at 9:47 p.m., roughly three hours after the Dukes learned who they would be playing in their first NCAA Tournament since 1994. The team, including Goins, had gathered at the Convo to watch the selection show with fans.

Harrisonburg Police Department Lt. Kurt Boshart said authorities waited until Sunday night to arrest Goins because they feared doing so at the party the previous night might have sparked a riot.

Police said the party was held at the 865 East apartment complex on Port Republic Road. It apparently was well-promoted. Several JMU basketball players had advertised the party through social media that day, including Goins, who tweeted "865 Basement Men's Basketball Championship Party Get There!!!!!#JMU"

Boshart said the party got "out of control" and that Goins - referred to as "one individual" in an HPD press release - became belligerent.

"When officers arrived [at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday] they were informed by private security personnel, the party was too big and they asked for everyone to leave," the news release says. "As officers were attempting to disperse the more than 200 people from the premises, one individual began yelling obscenities at the officers and enticing the crowd. He was told to leave several times by the officers and eventually was taken away by acquaintances.

"Due to the officers knowing who the individual was and the concern for the safety of the public should the crowd turn riotous[,] a decision was made not to arrest the individual at the time."

Boshart said he could not repeat what Goins told the officer, but that it would eventually come out in court. He also would not say if police suspected that Goins had been drinking.

After practice Monday, Goins simply said, "No comment," and walked away when a reporter tried to talk to him.

After his arrest Sunday, Goins was released on his own recognizance with a $2,500 unsecured bond.

He and the Dukes left campus late Monday afternoon for their flight to Dayton, Ohio, where they will face LIU in a play-in game at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Goins was a third-team All-CAA pick this season who played at two junior colleges in his native Ohio before transferring to James Madison in time for the 2010-11 season. Goins, named a JMU scholar-athlete the past two years, averaged 12.7 points and 7.4 rebounds this season.

How will the Dukes fare without their best big man for the opening 20 minutes? Maybe not as bad as you'd think. Goins struggled a bit down the stretch, averaging just 20 minutes in the last five games. The Dukes frequently opted for smaller, quicker lineups, sometimes featuring a five-guard set that pressed effectively on defense.

LIU is a run-and-gun team without a key player bigger than 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward Jamal Olasewere, the team's leading scorer.

"We're conditioned to playing without Ray," Brady said early Monday afternoon, while the player's status was still uncertain. "I think if you've paid attention to our team, we've played a lot of minutes without him.

"When we played those three games in the Richmond Coliseum [during the CAA tournament], he had two great halves. There were four halves he wasn't great. He's a big part of our team, he's a big part of why we beat Northeastern [for the CAA title], and he's going to play an integral part of what we do this weekend."

JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne could not be reached for comment Monday. While the e-mail sent from JMU athletics indicated Goins' one-half suspension was Brady's decision, the fifth-year coach said throughout the day that it was out of his hands.

"I'm a good solider," Brady said at one point. "I'll follow the marching orders I'm given."


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