DAYTON, Ohio — A.J. Davis, who stepped in as a starter because James Madison’s leading scorer was suspended for a half, led the way with 20 points as the Dukes beat LIU Brooklyn 68-55 on Wednesday night in the First Four.
The Dukes (21-14) advance to meet top-seeded Indiana (27-6) on Friday night at the same University of Dayton Arena.
James Madison was without suspended starter Rayshawn Goins for the first half but built a big lead. After the Blackbirds (20-14) battled back to take a brief lead, the Dukes surged again to win going away.
Charles Cooke added 15 points and Andre Nation 14 for the Dukes, who hadn’t won an NCAA tournament game since 1983 and hadn’t played in the big dance in 19 years.
Jamal Olasewere had 20 points and 10 rebounds and C.J. Garner 16 points for the Blackbirds, who have lost in their first game in each of their six trips to the tournament.
JMU was without Goins, its leading scorer (12.7) and rebounder (7.4) after he was suspended for the first half following a weekend arrest. Police in Harrisonburg, Va., said they were called to break up a party early Sunday morning and Goins was shouting obscenities at them. He was not arrested on site, according to the police, for fear the crowd would “turn riotous.”
He was suspended for the opening half by coach Matt Brady on Monday.
After wasting a double-digit first-half lead, the Dukes regrouped. E.J. Reed’s two foul shots with 15:02 left gave the Blackbirds their first lead of the game. But after falling behind, JMU found another gear.
Devon Moore, who had six assists, scored in transition right through the heart of the lane, Nation hit a follow and Davis took a long pass and popped in the shot off glass for a 45-40 advantage.
Nation then blocked a shot at the other end and tossed a long lead pass to Cooke, who dunked while being fouled. His three-point play made it a 9-0 run for a 48-40 lead with under 12 minutes left.
The Blackbirds never threatened again.
Goins came in early in the second half but appeared out of synch for several minutes. After missing his first three shots badly, he finally got on the board with a muscular move inside on a putback with 7:36 left to push the lead to 56-51. The next trip down the floor, he scored again, this time off a nifty assist pass inside from Ron Curry.
La Salle 80, Boise State 71
DAYTON, Ohio — Tyrone Garland led La Salle’s guard-driven offense with 22 points, and the Explorers wrapped up the NCAA tournament’s First Four by getting the better of an old-fashioned shootout, beating Boise State.
The 13th-seeded Explorers (22-9) play fourth-seeded Kansas State on Friday.
Ramon Galloway, one of the Atlantic 10’s top scorers, added 21 points in a fast-paced offense that did pretty much whatever it wanted. The Explorers shot 63 percent from the field — 16 of 22 in the second half.
Thirteenth-seeded Boise State (21-11) got its first at-large bid and was looking for the first NCAA tournament win in its history. The Broncos couldn’t keep up in a game of top-this shooting.
Anthony Drmic had 28 points for the Broncos, who shot 49 percent while falling to 0-6 all-time in the NCAA tournament.