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William & Mary (13-16) vs. James Madison (17-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Richmond Coliseum (11,200) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: CSN-MA, NE, TCN, CAA. Home Record: W&M 8-5, JMU 10-4. Away Record: W&M 5-11, JMU 4-9. Neutral Record: W&M 0-0, JMU 3-1. Conference Record: W&M 7-11, JMU 11-7. Series Record: JMU leads, 47-37.
GAMES NOTES: For the second time in a week the William & Mary Tribe and James Madison Dukes will square off, this time in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament at Richmond Coliseum.
Last Saturday the Dukes rallied for a 69-67 win on the road over the Tribe. The win allowed the Dukes to sweep the season series, while improving their all-time edge against the Tribe to 47-37.
William & Mary was an up and down team this season with three win steaks of at least three wins or more but also a devastating eight-game losing streak midway through the campaign. Overall the Tribe finished at 13-16, while owning a 7-11 mark in conference play. The Tribe, who are the No. 6 seed in the tournament, are one of seven teams in the conference to never earn a tournament title.
The win against the Tribe last Saturday was an important one for James Madison as it secured the third seed for the Dukes. James Madison was one of five teams in the conference to have a winning record with at least 17 wins overall. That included the Dukes' 11-7 mark against league foes. James Madison has been fortunate enough to earn a pair of conference titles, although it has been without one since 1994.
In last week's matchup William & Mary led, 59-48, with just over eight minutes remaining. However the Tribe allowed the Dukes to rip off a 21-8 run in the final eight minutes, capped off by Devon Moore's free throws with 19 seconds remaining that clinched the win.
William & Mary was actually a surprise this season for how well it played on the offensive end of the floor. The Tribe led the CAA as a whole in assists (14.3 pg) and field-goal percentage (.467), while ranking third in points scored (68.9 pg). There was no dominant distributor for the Tribe with five different players handing out at least two assists per contest. Marcus Thornton (18.6 ppg) is the second best scorer in the CAA as the postseason begins, while Tim Rusthoven (14.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) was vital not only for his scoring, but his work on the glass. Brandon Britt (13.8 ppg) can stroke it from 3-point range as an effective third option.
Although Moore delivered the finishing blows, it was A.J. Davis that carried James Madison over William & Mary. Davis poured in a career-high 36 points in the contest and nailed five shots from beyond the arc. The Dukes also had a 28-10 edge in points off turnovers that proved to be crucial.
Davis (11.3 ppg) has spent most of the season as a sparkplug off the bench and he has really been effective down the stretch. The 6-foot-6 guard has scored at least 21 points in each of the last three games and has hit at least four shots from 3-point range in the last four contests. Rayshawn Goins (12.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg) will likely be matched up with Rusthoven in the frontcourt as the top threat in the paint for the Dukes, while Moore (11.3 ppg, 4.8 apg) runs the point as both a scoring and passing option.
The Dukes could be a very dangerous team if Davis keeps up the torrid rate he has been playing at. Though he is likely to cool off at some point don't expect it to happen in this contest as the Dukes move on.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: James Madison 68, William & Mary 63
03/09 10:46:18 ET