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Cougars' Last-Second Attempt Falls Short at James Madison

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HARRISONBURG, VA -

With 23.7 seconds remaining inregulation, a last-second three-point attempt by Anthony Stitt (Charlotte, N.C.)fell short of a possible game-winner as defending Colonial Athletic Associationchampion James Madison hung on for the 56-58 win over College of Charleston onSaturday before a crowd of 3,987 at the JMU Convocation Center. 

The Cougars (11-10, 3-3 CAA) built aneight-point lead early in the first half of play as graduate senior forwardWillis Hall (Charlotte, N.C.) scored nine of the team's first 16 points againstthe Dukes (7-13, 2-4 CAA). Hall became the 31st player in program history torecord 1,000 career points on a made jumper at the 10:01 minute mark which gaveCofC a 16-8 advantage. 

James Madison chipped away at thatlead as Charleston got into foul trouble early with senior starters AnthonyThomas (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Nori Johnson (Greer, S.C.) being called withthree each before the half. 

Jackson Kent came off the bench andwas the biggest contributor as the Dukes avenged a loss to the Cougars in theCAA opener on Jan. 7. The freshman scored seven of his team-leading 17 pointsin the first half including a jumper that gave JMU its first lead, 19-18, with4:20 on the clock. 

The Dukes took a 28-23 lead into thelocker room after completing the half on a 9-0 run. They led for the firsteight minutes of the second half until a three-pointer by sophomore reserveTheo Johnson (Sacramento, Calif.) gave CofC back the lead, 42-40, with 12:26left to play. 

Three ties followed thereafter asjunior big man Adjehi Baru (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) kept the Cougars in the ballgamein the second half. His free throw and a jumper by Thomas put Charleston out infront by three, 48-45, with 9:09 remaining, but Kent would go on to score thenext seven-straight points for JMU. 

Baru ended the contest with his fifthdouble-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Hallregistered a game-high 22 points. 

CofC shot 43.2 percent from the floor,but continued to be marred by fouls and 23.8 percent shooting from behind thethree-point arc (5-of-21). JMU took advantage of those fouls going 16-for-26from the free throw line including 4-for-6 in the final stretch. 

Charleston had a chance in the finalminutes to tie, but made back-to-back turnovers which proved costly in thecomeback effort. Baru was fouled with 28 seconds remaining and made both at theline to make it a one-point game, 57-56, leading to the last-second shotattempt by Stitt. 

The Cougars will travel next toWilliam & Mary (11-7, 3-2 CAA) for a Monday, Jan. 27 first-time meetingbetween the two programs at 7 p.m. (ET) in Williamsburg, Va. The game will notbe televised, but will be available on ESPN 910 AM radio in Charleston.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

· For the thirdtime this season and third-straight game, the Cougars used the starting lineupof junior guard Anthony Stitt, senior combo guard Nori Johnson, senior smallforward Anthony Thomas, graduate senior forward Willis Hall and junior forwardAdjehi Baru (1-2).

· James Madisonclaims its first win in the three-game all-time series to which College ofCharleston still leads 2-1. Both teams split the regular-season series inCofC's inaugural season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.

· Willis Hallrecorded his seventh career 20-point game with a game-high 22 points against JamesMadison. He became the 31st player in school history to record 1,000 careerpoints on a made jumper at the 10:01 minute mark of the first half. Hall hasnow totaled 1,014 career points to date. He is one of only nine playersall-time (fourth in the program's NCAA Division I era) to record 1,000 pointsand grab more than 700 rebounds in a career (748). CofC has now had a playergain entrance into the 1,000-Career Point Club in each of the last six yearssince 2009. Hall is currently on a four-game double-digit scoring streak.

· Adjehi Baruregistered his 14th career double-double, fifth of the season, with 13 points anda season-high tying 13 rebounds. He has now scored in double figures on 10occasions this year.

· CofC won therebounding war for the 14th time this season and third-straight against a CAAopponent in league play, 31-30 (+1), against JMU.

 

POSTGAMEQUOTES

College of Charleston Head Coach DougWojcik

On the difference in the gamedown-the-stretch …

"We had two turnovers. We got calledfor a charge in the post by Anthony Thomas and Theo Johnson had a turnover.That's the difference. We had a chance. They (James Madison) just made moreplays down the stretch. At the end of the day, they made one more three-pointerthan us and beat us at the free throw line."

 

On the difference in reboundingbetween the first meeting of the season to both teams' second …

"There weren't many shots. We only had44 shots per team. Give them credit. They know us better now. They battled onthe boards today in comparison to the first game."

 

On the tempo of the game …

"We wanted to play fast. In the firsthalf, we were in foul trouble with an eight-point lead and had two guys on thebench with three fouls. I thought we had a favorable whistle in the second halfand it was more even. We just didn't make enough shots. We went 5-for-21 fromthree and they outscored us in the back court 44-to-11. Jackson Kent, (Ron)Curry and (Andre) Nation scored 44 points, while Anthony Stitt, Anthony Thomasand Nori Johnson scored 11 and that's the game."

 

College of Charleston Graduate SeniorForward Willis Hall

On the difference in the gamedown-the-stretch …

"We were making stop after stop, butwe were letting guys like Jackson Kent have a factor in the game. When you letguys make plays like he did, it makes a huge difference. It (Kent's play)wasn't a surprise to us. He is a great player and had an incredible game. Weknew guys like him, (Andre) Nation, (Ron) Curry and (Andrey) Semenov, we knewthey would be dangerous. As far as the statistics in rebounding, Adjehi Baruwas banging in there and rebounding for us. They (JMU) just came in ready tobattle."

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