LAS VEGAS, Nev., Dec. 12, 2012 - Led by the hot hand of senior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community School), James Madison used a 24-point swing to overcome a 13-point second-half deficit and defeat San Jose State 77-68 in the Vegas Holiday Hoops event at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
JMU poured in 53 points in the second half to win for the fourth time in five games while improving to 5-6 on the season. SJSU saw its record evened at 5-5.
After trailing 37-24 early in the second half, the Dukes went on a 14-0 run to take the lead. The Spartans pushed back with a 12-3 run to go back up by eight before Madison responded again.
Trailing 50-43, JMU went on a 10-3 run, tying the game on a Davis three with 8:55 to go. The Dukes kept the momentum going with an 11-2 run following a 55-55 tie thanks to threes by Davis, senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) and freshman guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI). Two Spartan offensive fouls and a pressing turnover factored largely into the stretch. SJSU got no closer than six as Madison pulled away for the 77-68 triumph.
The Dukes posted staggering second-half numbers, shooting 78 percent (18-for-23) from the floor while hitting all seven attempts from the arc and going 10-for-13 (77 percent) from the foul line. They topped 50 points in a half for the first time since also registering 53 in a home loss to George Mason on January 14.
Davis had all 18 of his points in the second half. He shot 6-for-8 for the night and hit all four of his three-point attempts in the second half. He added six rebounds while leading a balanced scoring effort for the Dukes.
Moore had 10 points and five assists in the second half to finish with 12 and seven for the game. Senior forward Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) narrowly missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, overcoming a 3-for-10 game from the field by hitting 7-of-8 free throw attempts. Freshman guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) had 11.
LaVanne Pennington led the Spartans with 16 points but had 12 of his points in the first four minutes of the game. D.J. Brown added 15 points and eight assists. Xavier Jones and Chris Jones each poured in 11 points for SJSU.
JMU fought through second-half foul problems that altered the pace of the game as the Dukes reached the bonus with 13 minutes remaining and recorded their 10th foul with 10 minutes to go. SJSU went 15-for-23 at the foul line in the second half thanks to the 16 personal fouls in the period by Madison.
The first half was all SJSU as the designated visitors got off to a quick start thanks to the hot hand of Pennington. He poured in 12 points in the first four minutes, hitting each of his three attempts from the arc, as the Spartans grabbed a 16-9 lead seven minutes into the contest.
The Dukes pulled to within four at 18-14 but the shooting went cold. JMU shot just 25.8 percent overall and 14 percent (2-for-14) from the arc in the first half as San Jose State pulled away to a 34-24 advantage at the break.
Cooke led JMU with seven points in the half. Pennington had 14 for the Spartans, who led the Dukes in rebounding 27-18 in the half.
JMU continues play in the Vegas Holiday Hoops event on Sunday afternoon with a 6:30 p.m. (EST) game against San Diego, which fell to Oregon State Saturday night, 86-79.
NOTES: JMU improved to 6-4 all-time against schools from California, 4-4 against Division I institutions... it was the first meeting between the Dukes and Spartans... SJSU was missing its leading scorer, James Kinney (22.6 points/game), who was suspended prior to the trip... Kinney was the nation's fifth-leading scorer... the 13-point deficit was the largest overcome this season by JMU... Moore reached five or more assists for the ninth time in 11 games... it was his 100th career game at JMU... the two games held on Saturday were the first college basketball games ever hosted at MGM Grand Garden Arena, which traditionally hosts major concerts, MMA, UFC and wrestling events in the "City of Entertainment."