TRIBE 48, JMU 70
RICHMOND, Va. — With under 3:00 remaining in the first half, the College of William and Mary (10-20, 5-14 CAA) tied James Madison University (19-13, 10-9 CAA) at 22-22 on junior guard Sean McCurdy’s driving layup. But when the halftime buzzer rang, the Tribe trailed 32-25.
It only got worse for the College in the second half of a 70-48 blowout loss to JMU.
“It’s a very disappointing night,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “I think our basketball team over the last month had really improved. I just didn’t see this coming.
“We had too many wasted opportunities on the offensive end.”
The Tribe trimmed its halftime deficit to 35-30 before JMU forward Kyle Swanston ignited a 17-2 Dukes run when he sank a three-pointer over Tribe junior guard David Schneider. Six and a half minutes later JMU guard Pierre Curtis, who punished the College all night, drilled a wide-open three-pointer — his only of the game — to cap the run and put his team up 52-32 with 10:55 remaining. Curtis, who finished with a team-high 19 points on 7 of 8 shooting, scored 6 consecutive points late in the game, pushing his team to a 63-38 lead.
While JMU efficiently executed its offense — the Dukes shot 53.8 percent from the floor — the Tribe’s offense floundered and went without a basket for 6:10 midway through the second half.
“Our shot selection wasn’t good,” Shaver said. “We lost our composure a little bit.”
As the Tribe’s shooting woes continued, JMU kept pouring it on, eventually building a 70-42 lead with 2:19 left.
The College shot just 35.2 percent from the floor and missed all 9 of its three-pointers in the second-half. The Tribe finished 1 of 18 from beyond the arc.
In a first half, during which the teams traded the lead four times, the Tribe stayed close, never trailing by more than 5 points until the final 61 seconds of the half.
Junior forward Danny Sumner, who finished with a team-high 19 points on 7 of 15 shooting, gave the College its first lead of the game at 12-11 on a fastbreak dunk. Just over 4:00 later, Sumner hit the team’s only trey of the game and pushed the Tribe into the lead for the final time at 20-17. The Dukes responded, outscoring the College 15-8 over the final 6:21 of the half and took a 32-25 lead into the break.
“I thought we did get good looks in the first half,” Shaver said. “We missed a lot of point black shots. We were 2 of 7 from the free throw line. One of the issues we felt was important tonight was to drive the ball at times and get it inside and we did, but we didn’t convert those situations.”
JMU forward Dazzmond Thornton, who scored 6 of his team’s first 8 points and finished with 8 points, got going quickly against the Tribe inside, muscling past senior forward Peter Stein on the low block to help his team to an early 6-2 lead.
JMU plays no. 2 seed George Mason University Saturday at 6 p.m.