“We had some open looks, but just couldn’t knock them down,” said C.B. McGrath, UNCW’s first-year head coach. “We did a nice job defensively in the first half. Give credit to JMU.”
Freshmen guards Darius Banks and Matt Lewis anchored JMU’s offense with 16 points apiece. Junior forward DeVelle Phillips also had 12 points and five rebounds off the bench for the Dukes, who shot 46.2 percent in the second half to secure their fourth CAA win.
In a game rescheduled from five days ago due to health concerns on the Harrisonburg, Va., campus, the Dukes rallied from a 30-25 halftime deficit and then survived a dramatic UNCW comeback in the closing seconds.
Trailing, 60-50, the Seahawks stormed back with 11 unanswered points and took their first lead since 17:53 of the second half when Ty Taylor sank a pair of free throws to give the Seahawks a 61-60 edge with 32.5 seconds on the clock.
But Lewis responded with a pair of free throws with 16 seconds on the clock, UNCW missed two field goal attempts and Snowden was off the mark on two free throws with 5.4 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Talley’s final heave.
Talley collected the ball at midcourt and raced down the right side before lofting a 25-footer than hit the back of the iron as time expired.
The Dukes erased a five-point halftime deficit in the first 3:12 of the second half and took a 35-33 edge with a 13-3 run. Banks was the catalyst for the Dukes, scoring seven points in the spurt.
James Madison then used a big surge midway through the second half to gain some breathing room. After Cacok sank a pair of free throws at 9:03, the Dukes, with Banks leading the way, padded their lead to 60-50 with five minutes to play.
The Seahawks overcame a cold shooting first half to forge out to a 30-25 edge at halftime after holding James Madison to the lowest point total by an opponent in the opening period this season.
In the first half, the two teams struggled from the field, combining for just 21-for-63 from the floor and 2-for-20 behind the arc. In addition, the teams committed 19 turnovers 10 for JMU and nine for UNCW – in a ragged opening 20 minutes.
James Madison led by four points, 15-11, with 11:02 left in the first period after a Stuckey Mosley bucket before the Seahawks took control.
A pair of free throws by Bryan kick started a 9-2 run and Talley converted both ends of a bonus situation with 8:55 left to put the Seahawks on top, 20-17.
The Dukes failed to score over the last 2:35 of the first period and the Seahawks capitalized for some breathing room at the break. Talley’s trifecta in front of the JMU bench with 47 seconds left enabled the visitors to head into the locker room with a five-point margin.
The Seahawks return to the North Carolina coast to wrap up the home schedule with games on Thursday, Feb. 15, vs. Elon, and Saturday, Feb. 17, vs. Charleston. Both are 7 p.m. tips.
GAME NOTES: UNCW leads the all-time series with JMU, 40-34…The Seahawks are 13-21 in Harrisonburg and 13-19 at the JMU Convocation Center…UNCW had a three-game winning streak at the Convo halted…The Seahawks committed 19 turnovers and JMU scored 23 points off those miscues…JMU scored 38 points in the paint…The Dukes outrebounded the Seahawks, 41-33…The Seahawks have four games remaining in the regular season…The Seahawks are 19-11 vs. the Dukes in February…UNCW is 1-2 against Virginia teams this season…There were eight ties and six lead changes in the contest.