NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 2, 2013 - Senior Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) had 16 points and nine rebounds and freshman Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) added 13 points as James Madison opened Colonial Athletic Association play with a 58-55 win over Old Dominion on Wednesday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
JMU won its CAA opener for the second straight year and won for the sixth time in its last seven games this season, including four in a row, to improve to 7-6 overall, 1-0 in the league. ODU dropped to 2-12 overall and 0-2 in the CAA. The Dukes snapped an eight-game losing skid against ODU.
Goins had just three points in the first half but was big in the second, scoring 11 of 12 points for the Dukes over one stretch to finish with 16. He had his first career multiple-block game with three. Curry started at point guard in the absence of senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) and tallied 13 points and four assists.
JMU held a slim lead the entire second half, between one and eight points. The Dukes took their largest lead at 42-34 with 11 minutes to go before ODU started to make a move, scoring five straight to make it a one-possession game.
However, JMU continued to come up with big conversions each time ODU threatened to tie or take the lead. Curry hit a fastbreak three when ODU was building momentum to make it 45-39 with nine minutes left. He later sank a runner to make it 49-45 and a key layup to make it 53-49.
Freshman guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) made all four free throw attempts on one-and-one opportunities in the final minute to help the Dukes pull out the 58-55 win.
The triumph was just the second ever at the Ted Constant Convocation Center for JMU (2008 the other). The Dukes improved to 25-55 all-time against ODU.
JMU shot just 36.4 percent for the game but hit 6-of-14 three-pointers (43 percent). The Dukes forced 15 turnovers for an 18-7 lead on points off turnovers. They also limited an ODU team that typically feasts on second-chance opportunities to just six points off the glass.
ODU shot 37 percent for the game, 34.5 percent in the second half. Forward DeShawn Painter had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Dimitri Batten had 12 points off the bench, going 3-for-8 from the arc.
ODU jumped out of the gate to a quick 11-2 advantage, forcing the Dukes to call timeout in the early minutes. The Monarchs sat in front 15-9 after a field goal by Palmore but then went cold.
JMU reeled off 10 unanswered points over next six minutes, taking the lead on a three-point play by Goins at the 6:16 mark. The run was capped by a putback layup by Diouf for a 19-15 lead.
ODU countered with a quick 6-0 spurt to retake the lead until Curry connected on a three for a 22-21 JMU lead. A three by Batten later tied the score at 24-24, but Cooke hit 1-of-2 free throws with 50 seconds on the clock for a 25-24 halftime lead.
The Dukes led or tied at the half for the seventh time in eight games despite shooting just 28.6 percent (10-for-35) in the opening stanza. They forced eight turnovers for an 11-2 advantage on points off turnovers and held a 7-0 lead on second-chance points. ODU shot 40 percent and led overall rebounds 22-20.
JMU continues road CAA play on Saturday at Georgia State with a 2 p.m. tipoff.