James Madison advances, Indiana next
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
DAYTON, Ohio — James Madison coach Matt Brady spent a lot of time using one of the most overused words in sports — adversity.
Coaches and players use it all the time, a catch-all for injuries, off-court drama, slumps or anything of the sort. Or all of the above, in Brady’s case.
Injuries have been the worst of it; he’s lost key players every season it seems including this one, and he said his best shooter spent Wednesday in street clothes. No matter — at least this night — as Brady’s Dukes defeated LIU-Brooklyn 68-55 to advance to play No. 1 Indiana on Friday. It was JMU’s first NCAA tournament victory since 1983.
JMU adjusted to the injuries and the changed lineups. JMU adjusted to the half-game suspension of leading scorer and rebounder, Rayshawn Goins, who was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct on Selection Sunday, according to The Harrisonburg (Va.) Daily News-Record. Goins scored four points and grabbed eight rebounds during Wednesday’s second half.
“At this level, you can’t let it impact your team,” Brady said, listing off injuries and explaining that Goins apologized to the team for his mistake. “You certainly can’t use it as an excuse. … We’re not going to let them use any excuses.”
With Goins out of the starting lineup, Brady started five guards. JMU had won with a small lineup before, and it did once again. A.J. Davis and a pair of freshmen – Charles Cooke and Andre Nation – combined for 49 points. Nation, who averages 8.7 points and has started 26 games as a freshman, has impressed his coach all season with his “basketball intellect and IQ,” Brady said.
Wednesday’s postgame news conference was a bit bittersweet for the Dukes. On one hand, Brady picked up his first NCAA tournament victory as a head coach and the program won its first tournament game in 30 years. But on the other, everyone knows No. 1 seed Indiana is waiting Friday, and Brady knows he can’t go small against the Hoosiers without getting “crushed on the glass.” It’s a good thing the 6-6, 265-pound … [For more on James Madison fends off adversity, LIU-Brooklyn to advance; Indiana next, click here.]