An impressive second-half shooting performance led the Tribe to a 71-56 victory over James Madison University Wednesday in Harrisonburg. The College shot a stunning 76.1 percent in the second half, which enabled them to run away from the Dukes. Senior Adam Payton had 10 of his team-high 18 points in the second half and sophomore Peter Stein poured in 13 of his career-high 17 points in the second half as well. All told, four Tribe starters reached double figures, including junior Nathan Mann with 14 points, and freshman David Schneider with 11 points, in addition to Payton and Stein.
p. The College’s victory marked the sixth straight triumph over the Dukes and gave the Tribe a record of 13-11 overall and 6-8 in the CAA. The win total of 13 is the highest since the 1997-1998 season.
p. The Tribe started slowly, shooting 37.9 percent in a first half, which saw seven lead changes and five ties. JMU stayed close by connecting on 10 of their 14 free throws; however, after junior Terrance Carter’s two free throws gave the Dukes a one-point lead at 22-21, the College rattled off seven straight points to end the half with a 28-22 advantage.
p. After leading by only six points at halftime, the Tribe quickly jumped out to a 10-point lead to begin the second half as Schneider hit back-to-back three-pointers. Schneider’s shots sparked the College and the lead continued to grow as the Tribe sunk shot after shot.
p. The College’s 8-0 run from the 9:48 to 7:02 mark produced an 18-point lead and effectively put the game away. This knockout-punch included three-pointers from Stein and senior Adam Trumbower as well as a layup from Payton. JMU would get no closer than 15 the rest of the way as the Tribe continued to execute sharply on both ends of the floor.
p. The College’s stingy defense held the Dukes to just 36.0 percent shooting overall and 20.0 percent from three-point range; they also forced 16 turnovers which led to 15 points. Although the Tribe had difficulty stopping JMU’s Terrance Carter, who finished with 26 points and nine rebounds, the College was able to stifle the rest of the Dukes offensively. Excluding Carter, JMU’s starters made only a combined five out of 19 shots for 26.3 percent shooting.
p. Last Saturday night at Kaplan Arena, the Tribe succumbed to the stellar shooting of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks, falling 61-67. UNCW shot 57.1 percent for the game and a scintillating 71.4 percent in the first half. Junior Vladimir Kuljanin — who ranks third in the nation in field-goal shooting at 67.7 percent — led the way for the Seahawks as he came off the bench to record a team-high 22 points in just 24 minutes of action.
p. “They got open shots,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “Mentally, our focus wasn’t where it should be tonight. I’ll take the blame for that.”
p. Playing without junior Laimis Kisielius (sprained ankle), the Tribe came out flat and it showed as the UNCW squad — which had tallied only two conference wins prior to the game — led nearly the entire way, save 40 seconds early in the first half. The College shot 37.0 percent for the game and connected on just seven out of 27 three-point attempts.
p. Shaver sent a message to his players early in the second half when he sat his starters down.
p. “I was disappointed in our energy level and mental level,” Shaver said.
p. The Tribe had its chances in the second half, but could only manage to cut the deficit to five points.
p. “[UNCW] made big plays when they needed to make big plays,” Shaver said. “The game was still in our reach. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
p. Payton tried to keep the College in contention as he scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, but his teammates only mustered 15 second-half points as the Tribe’s offensive execution floundered.
p. “At this point in the season, you wish you didn’t have these types of games,” Payton said.
p. The Tribe returns to action tomorrow night at UNCW at 7 p.m.