RICHMOND – No. 3 seed James Madison University sent 8 busloads of students 129 miles from Harrisonburg, Va. to the Coliseum for the Duke’s Colonial Athletic Association Tournament championship matchup with the No. 1 seed Northeastern Huskies.
Led by their three star fifth-year seniors, Devon Moore, Rayshawn Goins and A.J. Davis, the Dukes were able to run out to a gigantic first half lead. JMU was incredibly efficient offensively before halftime, shooting 51.6 percent from the field.
But, JMU’s defensive effort is the reason that the Dukes are the 2013 CAA Tournament champions and will be appearing in the NCAA Tournament, ultimately leading to a 70-57 victory.
“All the hard work, all the suicides, it felt amazing to finally come out on top and win a championship,” Moore said.
“Just like LeBron James said when he won his first championship, it’s about damn time,” Goins, who’s never short for words, said. “It’s been 19 years since JMU won a championship, man. It’s amazing. I can’t explain the feeling, man.”
Moore and Goins were named to the All-Tournament team and Davis, who captivated the entire CAA hoops crowd and PA Announcer, earned the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player award.
For Madison, it was two key stretches that really stopped Northeastern’s high-patented offense. The Huskies were the second best in the CAA in scoring per game this season at 72.3 points. The Dukes held them to 15 fewer points than that average.
The first stretch came after the Dukes trailed 5-3 early in the contest following a Reggie Spencer layup at the 18:24 mark in the first half. JMU would never trail again in the game, as they clamped down on the Huskies shooters. Northeastern would not make another field goal until Marco Banegas-Flores’ and-one layup with 5:29 left in the opening period. That’s nearly 13 minutes without a bucket—more than a quarter of a college basketball game.
In the second half, Northeastern cut it to 53-41 following an incredible 13-2 run, but JMU again responded with another defensive stop. They countered with a 10-5 run of their own before Joel Smith fouled out of the game with 7:46 remaining in the contest.
Thus, while high-flying dunks usually captivate a crowd and become storylines of games, JMU’s defense has them dancing.