Rapid Reaction: James Madison 68, LIU 55

March, 20, 2013
What it means: LIU Brooklyn is out of the Big Dance before it really began.

The Blackbirds lost to James Madison, 68-55, Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio, in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Dukes advance to the main bracket of 64 teams, as a No. 16 seed in the East region, and will play No. 1 seed Indiana in Dayton on Friday.

James MadisonLIU BrooklynLIU (20-14, 12-6 NEC) made the tourney for the third season in a row -- a great achievement. But the Blackbirds are now 0-6 in NCAA tournament games. And this was their best chance to win one.

The turning point: James Madison was short-handed in the first half -- leading scorer and rebounder Rayshawn Goins was benched for 20 minutes because of his arrest over the weekend. But the Dukes jumped out in front, thanks to six first-half 3-pointers. James Madison led by as many as 12, 30-18, but LIU closed the half on a 13-2 run, highlighted by two treys by Jason Brickman. The Dukes led by just one point, 32-31, at intermission.

LIU took the lead briefly early in the second half, 40-39, on two free throws by E.J. Reed. But James Madison answered with nine straight points, capped off by a three-point play by Charles Cooke. The Blackbirds got back within three, 54-51, with just over eight minutes remaining, on a Jamal Olasewere layup -- but that's as close as they got. Goins scored his first points of the game on a putback 25 seconds later, scored again on the team's following possession, and the Dukes put the game away from there.

Star watch: Olasewere, the NEC Player of the Year, exceeded his average (18.9 ppg) by scoring 20 points, and second-leading scorer C.J. Garner hit his average with 16 points. But the other seven players who got into the game for LIU scored just 19 points combined, shooting 7-for-26 from the field.

A.J. Davis scored 20 points for James Madison. Cooke added 15 points, and Andre Nation scored 14.

Number crunch: LIU entered the game as the fifth-highest-scoring team in Division I, averaging 79.5 points per game -- so the Blackbirds were 24 points under their average. They shot just 35.6 percent from the field (21-for-59) and 18.8 percent from downtown (3-for-16).

James Madison's size and length clearly bothered the Blackbirds. The Dukes had 10 blocked shots on the night, compared to just one by LIU.

What's next: James Madison plays Indiana on Friday, at approximately 4:10 p.m.

LIU returns home to Brooklyn, much earlier than the Blackbirds had hoped. Olasewere and Garner, both seniors, have played their final college game.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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