WILLIAMSBURG, Va., Jan. 4, 2012 - Freshman guard Marcus Thornton scored five of his 16 points in the final two minutes to turn a one-point game into a six-point lead to spark William and Mary to a 68-61 home win over James Madison in a Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball game Wednesday night at Kaplan Arena.
W&M snapped a four-game losing skid to improve to 3-12 overall and 1-2 in the CAA. JMU fell to 7-6 overall and 1-2 in league action. The Tribe won their third straight in the head-to-head series and fifth in the last seven meetings. Madison also had its three-game road streak snapped, which ranked 10th nationally entering the night.
William and Mary led 60-52 with 3:18 remaining following a layup by forward Quinn McDowell. The Dukes reeled off seven straight points in just over a minute as a layup by junior guard Alioune Diouf (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) was followed by a pair of jumpers by junior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland).
With the Tribe's lead down to one at 60-59, Thornton received a skip pass in the right corner and fired a three that proved to be the clinching shot for a 63-59 lead with 1:41 on the clock. After a left-corner miss by JMU senior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe), Thornton extended the lead further with a pair of free throws.
JMU got a layup from junior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community) to make it a four-point game with 50.7 seconds remaining, but W&M put it away with 3-of-4 free throws for the 68-61 victory.
Thornton finished with 16 points to share team-high honors with sophomore guard Brandon Britt, who went 10-for-11 at the free throw line. McDowell added 14 points while going 3-for-5 from the arc.
Davis led JMU with 19 points to go along with season highs of seven rebounds and four steals. Moore had a season-high 15 points while Hitchens added 10. Diouf grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds for the first double-digit total by a JMU player this season to go with three steals.
William and Mary grabbed a quick lead out of the gate, led by as much as 10 in the first half and sat in front 32-24 at the break. JMU fought its way back to take its first lead since the opening bucket of the game on a jumper by freshman forward Enoch Hood (Norfolk, Va./Booker T. Washington) to make it 41-40 with 10 minutes to go. Hood finished with a career-best nine points.
The teams traded the lead four times until a jumper by Britt put the Tribe in front 47-46 with 8:39 remaining. McDowell then hit two of his three-pointers in the next minute and a half to extend the home team's lead to 53-47 with 6:19 to go.
JMU was within four when junior forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) fouled out on a flagrant one call, which resulted in a four-point swing for the Tribe on the two free throws by Tim Rusthoven and a layup by McDowell. That put W&M up 60-52 prior to the final 7-0 run by JMU.
William and Mary shot 48 percent from the floor after a 60-percent showing in the opening half. The Tribe hit six of its 12 attempts from long distance and went 22-for-25 (80 percent) at the free throw line. The shooting performance helped W&M overcome 20 turnovers, which led to a 23-13 advantage in second-chance points for the Dukes.
JMU continued a shooting slump of four and a half games by hitting 36 percent from the field and struggling for a 2-for-23 (8 percent) showing from the arc. The Dukes have fallen short of 41 percent shooting in each of the last nine halves with a combined field goal percentage of .361 during the last 190 minutes of play dating back to the second half against George Washington on Dec. 22.
After an opening bucket by Semenov for JMU, W&M ripped off a 9-0 run with the Dukes hitting one of their first nine field goal attempts. Madison responded with an 8-2 swing to crawl within a point at 11-10 while forcing four Tribe turnovers over a three-minute stretch.
A four-point play by Rum helped put William and Mary back in front 21-14 with eight minutes remaining in the period. JMU responded with an 8-2 spurt to again pull within a point at 23-22 at the 3:11 mark. However, the Tribe had one more run before the half, a 9-0 push to move in front 32-22 before taking a 32-24 lead into the locker room.
W&M shot 60 percent in the opening stanza while JMU struggled to a 30 percent clip while hitting just one of its 12 attempts from the arc (8 percent). Thornton had nine points in the half for the Tribe.
JMU will be home on Saturday to host Northeastern at 2 p.m.
NOTES: JMU had connected for at least six three-point field goals in each of the first 12 games of the season before hitting two against William and Mary... the .087 percentage for the Dukes from the arc was the worst since going 0-for-9 last Jan. 26 at home against Drexel... senior forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) missed the game due to illness to snap his streak of consecutive starts at 76 games... as a result, JMU used its fifth different starting lineup this season... Madison was playing its fourth game in the last seven days, which included two overtime games... with JMU's first 10-rebound game of the season, Diouf had one-third of JMU's total of 30 boards.