No. 2 JMU's stingy defense sets sights on Richmond

mickeymatthews.png

No. 2 JMU's stingy defense sets sights on Richmond

Led by a grudging defense and coming off thrilling double-overtime victory, No. 2 James Madison heads to Richmond for an in-state matchup against one of the few teams with a superior head-to-head record against the Dukes.

Sitting alone atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings, the Dukes (5-1, 3-0) nearly lost that lofty perch their last time out but prevailed for a 27-26 win over William and Mary. To remain unbeaten they must go out on Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet) and beat a Spiders (4-3, 2-2) squad that averages a robust 35.3 points per game.

That hasn't always been easy for James Madison, which is on the short end of a 16-13 series matchup, though the teams have split 14 games played at Robins stadium. Last season in Harrisonburg, the Dukes racked up 297 rushing yards and seven quarterback sacks in a 31-7 triumph.

Redshirt junior quarterback Justin Thorpe is responsible for a good chunk of the Dukes running these days - not to mention, duh, winning. The dual threat option leads the team with 394 yards and four touchdowns while tailback Dae'Quan Scott has racked up 334 yards and five touchdowns on the season, including the go-ahead score against the Tribe.

Thorpe also directs a diverse passing attack where 13 players have caught pass, led by tight end Brian Barlow (16-237-1). James Madison has won 14 straight FCS games with Thorpe under center.

Yet it's on the other side of the ball where the Dukes truly make their mark. In five games against FCS programs, JMU has allowed only six touchdowns and an average of 10.6 points per game.

Playing in the Dukes 4-3 scheme, linebacker Stephon Robertson led JMU in tackles in four of six games, tallying a career-high 14 in a win over No. 12 Towson. Up front, Brandon Lee finished with a career-high eight tackles in the win over William and Mary while fellow defensive end Sage Harold had two sacks against Richmond last season.

The Dukes' defense will contend with Richmond's pro-style offense, helmed by senior quarterback John Laub, who ranks second in the CAA passing yards (246) and total offense (296) per game. Junior wide receiver Ben Edwards tops the conference with 51 receptions

Tyler Cavanaugh sparks George Washington to 3rd straight win

Tyler Cavanaugh sparks George Washington to 3rd straight win

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tyler Cavanaugh scored 22 points and sparked a breakaway run in the second half as George Washington defeated George Mason 83-74 on Sunday to pull even with the Patriots in the Atlantic 10 standings.

Cavanaugh has scored 19 or better in the Colonials' last three games, all wins, and has topped 20 points a dozen times this season. Sunday, the senior made 8 of 17 shots, grabbed seven rebounds and had three assists. With the lead at 57-54 and 8:19 to play, Cavanaugh drove for a score that started a 15-9 run over the next 3-1/2 minutes that gave the Colonials some breathing room in a game that saw 10 ties and nine lead changes.

The win lifts George Washington (16-13, 8-8) into a three-way tie for sixth place in the A-10, and owns the tie-breaker over both George Mason (18-11, 8-8) and La Salle.

Marquise Moore led George Mason with 20 points and six assists. Yuta Watanabe scored a season-high 18 and Jaren Sina 16 for George Washington, which had a season-low five turnovers against 17 assists.

MORE NCAA: NO. 2 MARYLAND WOMEN TOP MINNESOTA TO CLINCH 1ST PLACE TIE

No. 24 Terps struggle again at home, fall to unranked Iowa 83-69

No. 24 Terps struggle again at home, fall to unranked Iowa 83-69

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Freshman Jordan Bohannon scored a career-high 24 points, hitting 8 of 10 3-pointers, to help Iowa breeze past fading No. 24 Maryland 83-69 Saturday night.

Tyler Cook had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (16-13, 8-8 Big Ten), who improved to 2-7 on the road this season. Iowa led by seven at halftime and erased any shred of suspense by taking a 16-point lead with 10:28 remaining.

The Hawkeyes went 16 for 26 beyond the arc in avenging a home loss to Maryland on Jan. 19.

Bohannon came in averaging 9.2 points per game and shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. Cook, who's also a freshman, scored only eight points in the first meeting between the teams.

Kevin Huerter scored 13 points for Maryland (22-7, 10-6). Since opening 20-2, the Terrapins have lost five of seven and three in a row.

Eager to rebound from a home loss to Minnesota, the Terrapins came out flat against an Iowa team that had beaten only Rutgers on the road.

Maryland's biggest lead was two points, and the Terps never led after relinquishing a 24-23 advantage midway in the first half.

Maryland went 11 for 34 from 3-point range and took only nine free throws.

Cook scored 15 points and Bohannon drilled four 3-pointers to help Iowa take a 47-40 halftime lead.

The Hawkeyes went 8 for 12 from beyond the arc, outrebounded Maryland 20-14 and limited standout guard Melo Trimble to three points on 1-for-5 shooting.

Huerter opened the second half with a 3-pointer to give the crowd hopes of a comeback, but Bohannon nailed three 3s in a 10-1 spurt that made it 58-44.

Trimble finished with 10 points, going 1 for 9 from beyond the arc.