WILLIAMSBURG, Va., Jan. 18, 2014 – James Madison couldn’t overcome an early barrage of 3-pointers by William & Mary despite a career night offensively by sophomore guard Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian School), falling to the Tribe 78-56 in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon at Kaplan Arena.
Nation scored a career-high 25 points in the loss, surpassing his previous high of 24 against Indiana in last year’s NCAA Tournament. He stuffed the stat sheet, adding five rebounds, five steals and four assists. It wasn’t enough as the Dukes dropped to 6-13 overall and 1-4 in the CAA
Marcus Thornton led a balanced attack by W&M with 20 points. A trio of Tribe players reached double-figures as Tim Rusthoven finished with 17 points and Brandon Britt had 12, helping the team improve to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
W&M entered the game as the top 3-point shooting team in the conference in both percentage and 3-pointers made and it put that shooting ability on display against JMU. The Tribe finished 10-of-20 from beyond the arc, including a 7-of-12 mark in the first half on its way to a 42-24 lead.
The two teams traded runs early on, but it was JMU that initially jumped out ahead. Following two buckets inside by W&M, the Dukes went on a 10-0 run. Nation fueled the run with eight points on two 3-pointers and a fastbreak dunk, while sophomore guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) chipped in with a layup.
The Tribe responded with nine straight points over a span of five minutes to take a 13-10 lead. Four different players contributed during that stretch, including Julian Boatner with a 3-pointer.
A layup by Nation and a free throw by freshman Jackson Kent (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian) tied the game at 13, but the Tribe outscored the Dukes 29-11 to close out the half.
W&M cooled off in the second half, shooting 44 percent, compared to the 71 percent clip it shot in the first half. JMU improved its shooting from 33 percent in the first half to 50 percent in the second and made a few different runs to cut into the deficit.
A three-point play by Nation with 7:55 to play and a 3-pointer by Curry got the Dukes within 14 (61-47), but that’s as close as they would get as Britt and Thornton hit treys during an 8-0 run to put the Tribe back up 22 (69-47).
Curry scored 14 points for the Dukes, reaching double-digits in scoring for the 11th time this season. Graduate student Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) tallied eight points.
W&M finished with a 35-24 advantage on the boards, led by nine rebounds from Terry Tarpey. Nation’s five boards led the Dukes.
The Dukes played without their leading scorer, sophomore guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic), for the entire second half. Cooke, who has scored in double-figures 15 times this season, left with an injury with just under five minutes remaining in the first half.
JMU played on the road for the 15th time this season. It will play at home for just the fifth time when it hosts College of Charleston in a CAA matchup on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m.