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HARRISONBURG, Va. – The William & Mary men’s basketball team dropped a tough regular-season finale at James Madison, 71-65, on Saturday afternoon.
The Tribe (19-10, 11-7 CAA) drew within two points on five occasions over the final eight minutes, but each time the Dukes (21-10, 11-7 CAA) found the answer on the way to shooting 50 percent and picking up the win.
Junior Omar Prewitt topped W&M with 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Senior Sean Sheldon and sophomore David Cohn added 13 apiece. Sheldon was 4-of-5 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line to go with six rebounds and four assists. Senior Terry Tarpey turned in another all-around stat line of nine points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Trailing by six at the half, W&M scored 10 of the first 14 points in the second half, all in the paint, to draw even. Sheldon, who had four points during the spurt, made a steal on the defensive end that led to a Daniel Dixon lay-up to tie the game at 40, three and a half minutes into the final period
James Madison opened up its largest lead of the game with six straight points. Senior Ron Curry knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing, was fouled and completed the unconventional four-point play to give JMU a five-point cushion. An Ivan Lukic lay-up at the 11:32 mark stretched the home team’s lead to 50-43.
A 7-2 Tribe run closed the gap to 54-52. W&M hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line during the stretch with Tarpey and Sheldon accounting for all seven points. Sheldon found Tarpey for lay-up to close cut the deficit to two with 8:16 left.
W&M would draw within two points on four more occasions, the final time on a Prewitt driving lay-up with 50 seconds remaining to make it 64-62. The Tribe junior was fouled on the play, but could not complete the old-fashion three-point play. JMU answered on the other end as Curry found Joey McLean for a 3-pointer from the left corner to push the lead back to five, 67-62. A Cohn lay-up closed the gap to a single possession, 68-65, with 10.4 seconds remaining, but the Dukes hit 3-of-4 from the free throw line the rest of the way to hold off the Tribe.
The Green and Gold shot just 38.3 percent (23-of-60) from the floor, only the second time this season the Tribe shot less than 40 percent from the field. The Tribe connected on only 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range, while shooting 75 percent (15-of-20) at the charity stripe.
JMU finished the day at 50 percent (27-of-54) shooting, including 9-of-25 (36 percent) from 3-point range. Curry led all scorers with 21 points on 6-of-12 from the field, while Yohanny Dalembert added 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Tribe jumped quickly out of the gates, hitting six of its first eight shots from the floor. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Tarpey and Cohn put W&M on top 10-2 and forced a JMU timeout just 2:15 into the game. The margin reached nine, 13-4, on another Cohn 3-pointer at the 17:02 mark.
JMU rallied with 11 straight points to take its first lead. McLean’s 3-pointer from the left corner tied the game at 15, before a Lukic hook in the post gave JMU its first lead of the game at 17-15 with 11:40 left in the opening half. After a Greg Malinowski 3 briefly halted the scoring run, Curry and Winston Grays hit back-to-back triples to extend the run to 17-3 and give JMU a 23-18 lead midway through the opening period.
Dixon sparked an 8-2 run to put W&M back in front. He scored on back-to-back driving lay-ups, including a tough finish over Dalembert, to whittle the margin to one. W&M regained the lead, 26-25, on a pair of Cohn free throws at the 4:37 mark.
The Dukes hit their final four shots from the floor in the first half, including a trio of 3-pointers, to take a six-point lead to the locker room. Jackson Kent hit a pair of treys including one right before the halftime horn to send JMU to the intermission with a 36-30 lead.
The Tribe finished the regular season tied for third at 11-7, but due to tiebreakers will be the No. 5 seed in the CAA Championship, March 4-7, in Baltimore, Md. The Green and Gold faces No. 4 seed James Madison in the quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 5.
The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet. For all the your Tribe Information head into March Madness in Baltimore, visit TribeAthletics.com/MarchOnTribe.
The final Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver will be on Monday from Paul’s Deli, 761 Scotland St. in Williamsburg.
The weekly show begins on-site at 6:30 p.m. with the live interview airing from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Longtime Tribe play-by-play announcer Jay Colley will host the broadcast.
The Show can be heard over the Tribe Radio Network and online at TribeAthletics.com. Click here to listen to The Chesapeake Bank Tony Shaver Show via Stretch Internet.