LIU Brooklyn's top-notch offense was no match for James Madison's lockdown defense, as the Dukes defeated the Blackbirds, 68-55, in Dayton on Wednesday to earn the No. 16 seed in the East region.
The Dukes will now play the No. 1-seeded Indiana Hoosiers on Friday in hopes of becoming the first No. 16 seed to win in the round of 64.
Guard A.J. Davis led the way for James Madison with 20 points and five rebounds, while Jamal Olasewere matched his game-high 20 for LIU Brooklyn. Charles Cooke chipped in 15 points and Andre Nation 14 for the Dukes, who had to play the first half without suspended leading scorer Rayshawn Goins.
Based on the early minutes, James Madison did not miss its leading scorer all that much on Wednesday.
The Blackbirds coughed the ball up five times in the game's first 10 minutes, leading to easy transition buckets for James Madison. That has become something of the norm for LIU Brooklyn, which came into the contest averaging 14.4 mistakes a night.
Sprinting up and down the floor with the team's trademarked gazelle pace, shots finally started to drop from distance. C.J. Garner knocked down a two-pointer, Jason Brickman a three and Troy Joseph another bomb all in less than two minutes to cut a 12-point deficit down to four.
LIU Brooklyn ended the final 4:30 of the first half on a 15-5 run to go into halftime with momentum and down just 32-31.
After the halftime break, the momentum stayed right where it was going into locker room—at least initially. The Blackbirds came back out looking solid again on offense and took their first lead of the game on two E.J. Reed free throws a little less than five minutes into the half.
LIU Brooklyn scored just 15 points after taking that brief lead, as James Madison held it to only 35.6 percent shooting. A loss versus Indiana is likely coming on Friday, but for now, the Dukes are one of three teams to say they won at the 2013 NCAA tournament.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, this was James Madison's first tournament win since 1983:
James Madison defeats LIU Brooklyn for the Dukes' first NCAA Tournament win since 1983.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 21, 2013
Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com was not impressed with the physicality—or lack thereof—between LIU Brooklyn and James Madison:
First blush: No physical play from JMU or LIU-Brooklyn. I see more contact each weekend in 4A high school ball in Indy.— Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) March 20, 2013
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated's Andy Glockner seemed more concerned with the rather strange font style on the Blackbirds' uniforms:
Following a ferocious dunk from Jamal Olasewere, CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello was dazzled:
I will say that LIU Brooklyn has the worst font I have ever seen on their uniforms.— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) March 20, 2013
In the most endearing tweet of the night, James Madison's official feed urged fans to start wearing purple in support of the Dukes versus Indiana:
My goodness. Jamal Olasewere. Get some.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 21, 2013
Though they will likely need all the support they can get on Friday, Wednesday is a night of celebration for the young men at James Madison.
Fill in your brackets!Start Wearing Purple!JMU v. Indiana on Friday!Go DUKES!!!!— JMU (@JMU) March 21, 2013
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