JMU jumps all over Northeastern to claim CAA tournament, first NCAA berth since 1994
By HANK KURZ Jr., AP Sports Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A.J. Davis scored 26 points and James Madison put together an early 23-1 run before holding off a furious rally to beat Northeastern 70-57 on Monday night in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game.
Rayshawn Goins added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the third-seeded Dukes (20-14), who won their conference tournament for the first time to earn their first berth in the NCAA tournament since 1994.
Jonathan Lee led the regular-season champion Huskies (20-12) with 14 points, all in the second half. Northeastern rallied from a 31-7 deficit to beat George Mason 69-67 in the closing seconds of their semifinal matchup Sunday but couldn't pull off another comeback one night later.
The Huskies, who haven't been to the NCAAs since 1991, trailed 51-43 with 8:23 to go before James Madison used a 10-3 run to settle things down.
Andre Nation added 10 points for James Madison, including three critical free throws with 7:46 to play to end a 19-8 run that had brought the Huskies within 51-43 -- quieting the heavily partisan crowd at the Richmond Coliseum.
After a timeout, Nation made all three shots, starting a 10-3 run for the Dukes.
The Huskies, who had played one fewer game in the tournament because of a first-round bye, closed to 61-50 on a 3-pointer by David Walker with 4 minutes left but got no closer.
Northeastern's comeback against George Mason had been the largest in the 93-year history of the program, so the start to Monday's game seemed a bit shocking and proved decisive.
After Joel Smith opened the game with a 3-pointer for the Huskies, Davis answered for the Dukes and an inside basket by Reggie Spencer gave Northeastern a 5-3 lead. By the time the Huskies got their next field goal, nearly 13 minutes had elapsed and they trailed 28-11. Two more baskets by Goins made it 32-11 and a 3-pointer by Davis a short time later made it 35-13.
The Dukes led 40-18 at halftime -- and then it just seemed a matter of hanging on.
The Huskies' 25-11 run to start the second half, which featured all of Lee's points, made it interesting, but the foul on Nation, the timeout and his three free throws settled the Dukes again.