Post-game: For Andrew Pike’s game story, click here.
Post-game: A dismal ending to what has been a frustrating season for the College. The Tribe was unable to stop JMU in the paint and shot horribly from the field, never really competing with a middle of the road Dukes squad. Through the first 15 minutes, this was a close game as JMU could not buy a shot; once they started hitting, the contest was over. The College was outscored 38-21 in a second half in which they needed to muster a strong performance to keep their season alive. Instead, the JMU Dukes will move on to face George Mason tomorrow night in a game which they will be hard-pressed to win.
Final: All season the Tribe has had two sides, one which could upend then conference leading Northeastern at home and take George Mason down to the wire, and one which could get blown out by Towson on the road. Tonight, there was no doubt which team showed up, as the College is blown out by JMU 70-48. Pete Stein and Chris Darnell experience an undeserved ending for a class that has been among the winningest for the program in years.
2:00: Shaver goes to the full court press. This appears to have no impact on the Dukes’ ability to score inside as Juwann James immediately gets free inside for a wide open layup. After he picks up his third foul and takes a seat on the bench, the several thousand JMU fans in attendance give him a warm ovation. Stein takes a seat on the bench seconds later. The several dozen Tribe fans don’t seem to notice. It’s now 70-42 JMU as the final minutes of the Tribe’s season tick away.
4:00: After a full court outlet pass, Stein has an uncontested layup, but somehow, inexplicably travels. That pretty much sums up the Tribe’s night.
4:00: After a brief Tribe spurt, JMU scores 9 straight points to push their margin to 25. Shaver appears to have given up as Schneider and Sumner are both now on the bench. The coach seems content to let his two seniors, Stein and Chris Darnell, play the remaining minutes of what has been an utterly disappointing season.
7:00: Swanston drains a three extending the lead to 21.
8:00: Sumner again bricks two from the free throw line, he’s missed four straight charity shots. After a JMU miss, Schneider misses again from three. Their defense is providing opportunities to pull back into this game, but the College still cannot buy a shot and is relying completely on Sumner for scoring output. With 8 minutes, left Sumner has 15 points; no other Tribe player has more than 4.
9:00: The College finally gets a sliver of momentum, forcing a turnover on the defensive end before Sumner is fouled driving to the hoop. However, the junior bricks both from the line. Sumner makes up for it however, by collecting a McDowell loose ball and dropping it in to end the College’s scoring drought at 6:10.
10:00: Coming out of the timeout, Stein tosses an idiotic pass which goes right to a JMU defender. The Dukes respond with an easy layup off a nice cut pass on the other end. So much for that timeout. Schneider continues his ice cold shooting with a miss from three and Pierre Curtis drills an unguarded trey to extend the margin to 20. It’s 52-32 Dukes and the situation looks extremely dire for the College who have looked completely lost in the second half.
12:00: The College is playing sloppily and forcing up poor shots offensively, while JMU’s shooting has heated up on the other end. It appears the only thing keeping the game close in the first half was JMU’s inability to make a shot and, with that no longer the case, the Dukes are starting to run away with this one. Schneider and Sumner are going to need to rally the Tribe or they will be looking at a first round blowout loss.
12:00: Juwann James misses a pair from the line as Stein subs back in for the Tribe with three fouls. He immediately picks up his fourth in exactly 18 seconds again. James manages to hit 1 of 2 this time. After Sean McCurdy turns it over on a travel, Schneider subs back in. JMU gets a tough bucket down low before Juwann James steals an outlet pass. Pierre Curtis hits a jumper with the shot clock running down and Shaver is forced to take another time out with the Tribe losing control of this game. It’s now 47-32 JMU.
14:00: Sumner grabs a rebound from a Schneider miss and fights hard to get the put back bucket. He has been by far the Tribe’s best player tonight and he’s going to need to maintain that level to get his squad back in this game. Moore answers with another pull-up jumper to keep the margin at 10.
16:00: Stein gets a steal leading to a fast break on which McDowell is fouled going to the hole. He hits both as the College appears to have settled down from the stripe in the second half. Kyle Swanston hits a deep three for the Dukes. He’s a streaky, but efficient shooter and, if he heats up, the Tribe could be in deep trouble. Moore then hits a shot from the free throw stripe to make it 40-30 Dukes. He then picks up his third foul, both he and Julius Wells now have three fouls and the Tribe is over halfway to the bonus a mere 4 minutes in.
18:00: Two minutes in, this is not the start the Tribe wanted. Brown was blocked on a contested layup for the College and the Dukes answered with a three from Julius Wells to make it 35-25. Sumner stems the bleeding somewhat with a layup and a foul. He converts from the stripe to bring the Tribe back within 7.
19:42: 18 seconds in Pete Stein picks up his third personal after a block by Kendrix Brown.
Start of second half: As the Tribe takes the court for the second half , they have their work cut out for them in the second half. If they can hit at even a decent rate from beyond the arc and find some way, any way, to slow down JMU inside, they should have a shot to win this game; if they do neither, however, this could get ugly fast. Speaking of ugly, the JMU pep band just started up again. Great.
Halftime: On a more positive note, the Tribe managed to stay out of foul trouble in the opening half, with only Kitts and Stein with multiple fouls, allowing only a single Duke foul shot.
Halftime: After hanging neck and neck with the Dukes for the first 17 minutes of the half, the Tribe allows JMU to pull away in the closing minutes, entering the half down 32-25. The College is 1-9 from three and 2-7 from the free throw line, two stats which they must rectify if they want to have any chance to win this game. On the defensive end, they’ve similarly held JMU to 1-7 shooting from beyond the arc, yet the Dukes utter dominance down low had them hitting on 50% of their shots in the first half, 61% from inside the arc. The Tribe must find a way to slow down Dazzmond Thornton , Pierre Curtis, and Juwann James who have combined to post 23 of JMU’s 32 points.
Halftime: Sumner makes one of two from the line, about what is expected from the 54% free throw shooter, after an off the ball foul on the Dukes. JMU answers with an easy layup. Schneider tosses up an ill-advised layup with seconds left which clangs off the rim and JMU’s desperate heave at the buzzer falls short and left. It’s 32-25 Dukes at the half as JMU finishes the opening session on a 6-1 run.
0:56: Tony Shaver is forced to take a timeout after two quick JMU baskets cap an 8-2 Dukes run, opening up a 30-24 lead. As has been the case throughout the first half, the College has been entirely unable to stop JMU down low as the Dukes pound it inside for easy basket after easy basket. The Tribe will need to reel off a bucket or two here to keep it close at the half.
1:27: McCurdy makes a running layup to tie the score before Pierre Curtis answers at the opposite end with a bucket of his own. Schneider has a three bounce in and out before Kitts picks up a dumb over the back foul. Sumner subs back into the game after a several minute absence along with Alex Smith, appearing for the first time in several games. He cleans up a Sumner miss and tips in the rebound to cut the Dukes’ lead to 26-24.
3:54: The Tribe enters the bonus on an over the back foul on Juwann James,
but McDowell cannot connect from the line. At the last media timeout of the half, we are now once again forced to listen to the JMU pep band whose rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” just became one of the few forms of in-game entertainment less bearable than the College’s own pep squad.
5:00: Steven Hess misses a pair of free throws down low, only the 9th and 10th charity shots he has taken on the year, and the College is now 1-4 from the stripe. Kyle Swanston buries a three for the Dukes, their first made trey of the contest, and it’s back to 20-all, the fifth tie of the first half. After Sumner picks up a charge on the offensive end, Devon Moore hits a running layup for the Dukes at the opposite end to take a 22-20 JMU lead. “Get off the court, Lil Wayne!” a Tribe supporter yells at the dreadlocked Moore as he picks up his second foul on a loose ball.
7:00: The teams exchange buckets before Sumner hits a three from near the top of the key for a 20-17 lead. It is the first made three pointer of the contest, unusual for a pair of squads which were 4th and 5th in the conference in three pointers attempted. While the Dukes remain ice cold from outside, JMU big men Dazz Thornton and Julius Wells are dominating the College on the scoring end down low. The Dukes have racked up 6 offensive boards and have all 17 points in the paint.
9:00: Thornton gets free inside and lays it in over McDowell to break the Tribe’s run. All 13 of the Duke’s points have now come from within the paint. Kitts hits one of two free throws after being fouled in the lane, and after a JMU miss, McDowell hits on an acrobatic layup. The Dukes miss two more outside shots, but the second one is tipped in to make it 15-15. JMU still has not made a shot from outside about a 6-foot radius from the basket.
11:33: Stein knocks away a pass in the lane on the defense end and it’s saved by Brown who tosses it up to prevent it from going out of bounds. Sumner is there to outleap his man for the ball, leading to a breakaway which he finishes with an emphatic dunk to make it 12-11 Tribe, a 6-0 run for the College. We’re now being subjected to the JMU pep band which is, to sum it up bluntly, awful.
12:00: McDowell hits Schneider with a nice pass underneath the basket for an easy layup and Sumner follows later with an impressive driving basket to make it 11-10. JMU is shooting poorly from the outside, and is clearly intent on exploiting their size advantage down low.
15:00: The Dukes jump out to an early 8-4 lead and appear to be having little trouble with the Tribe defense, repeatedly getting good looks down low for easy buckets. Marcus Kitts answers with a nice spin move and dunk down low, before Juwann James drives, getting the bucket and the foul shot, which he hits to make it 11-6 JMU.
18:00: A full court press for the JMU defense. The Dukes get a bucket on a nice dish down low to Dazzmond Thornton before Kendrix Brown cleans up a Sumner miss to even the score with a tip-in. The Dukes get back to back buckets before Peter Stein picks up his first foul on a loose ball. Sloppy play for the Tribe so far.
Tipoff: In front of a mostly empty Coliseum, the Tribe wins the opening tip to the delight of the estimated 20 College fans in the student section. Danny Sumner promptly travels and JMU answers with a turnover at the opposite end.
Pre-Game: Sports Editor Andrew Pike and I are here courtside at the Richmond Coliseum as the Tribe prepares for its first round tourney matchup against the James Madison Dukes. Finishing the regular season at 10-19 (5-13), the 10th seeded College will look to upset the 7th ranked Dukes (18-13, 9-9), with the winner moving on to face 2nd seeded George Mason tomorrow night.