JAMES MADISON EXPANSION PACK

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VCU held James Madison without a field goal the final 7:59 Thursday

RICHMOND, Va. – Chalk up another busted offense to VCU’s “Havoc”.

The Rams high-energy, full-court pressing style of defense wore down James Madison in the second half of VCU’s 65-45 win over the Dukes.

JMU shot 33 percent (17-of-51) from the floor in the game, including 30 percent (8-of-27) in the second half alone, and scored a season-low 45 points. The Dukes trimmed a 33-24 VCU halftime lead to 42-41 with 12:17 left before the Rams’ defense overwhelmed them. VCU closed the game on a 23-4 run and held the Dukes without a field goal over the final 7:59.

“I do think the press had a cumulative effect tonight, and our style of play was able to wear them down,” said VCU Coach Shaka Smart. “I think they got a little tired.”

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READY GRAHAM: FROSH ANSWERS CALL

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Freshman Treveon Graham scored a game-high 18 points in 23 minutes Thursday

RICHMOND, Va. – VCU’s best offensive player in Thursday night’s 65-45 win over James Madison was its chiseled 6-foot-5 swingman, who displayed a varied skill set that allowed him to score from a number of different spots on the floor. Yup, Treveon Graham was pretty darn good against the Dukes. Oh, were you thinking of someone else?

Senior Bradford Burgess didn’t have a good shooting night, but Graham, a freshman from Washington, D.C. managed a pretty compelling Burgess impersonation, tying a career-high with 18 points to lift a sagging VCU offense.

Graham apparently had JMU Coach Matt Brady convinced.

“I had never seen him before tonight. He’s a really good player,” Brady said. “He seems like a little version of Brad Burgess, so they’ve got a really good player.”

Graham’s performance couldn’t have come at a much better time. Burgess (3-of-11), as well as sophomores Juvonte Reddic (1-of-10) and Rob Brandenberg (0-of-2) all had dreadful shooting nights, but Graham knocked down 6-of-10 shots through a series of effective drives and 2-of-3 shooting from 3-point range. The VCU rookie, who ranks second on the team in free throw attempts, also reached the foul line six times.

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KNOW YOUR ENEMY: JAMES MADISON

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2011-12 Record: 8-7 (1-3 CAA)
2011-12 RPI:
255
Guy to heckle:
Humpty Hitchens, Sr., G (15.5 ppg, 3.6 apg)

The skinny: Sweet-shooting guard A.J. Davis (16.3 ppg), a transfer from Wyoming, has been a shot in the arm for a team looking to offset the loss of its leading scorer and rebounder, Denzel Bowles (graduation), from last season. Davis’ presence has taken on even greater importance since the Dukes learned that forward Rayshawn Goins, who averaged 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds last year, has likely been lost for the season with a shoulder injury. That leaves James Madison Coach Matt Brady with a guard-heavy lineup, albeit one that can get hot at the right time.

Senior guard Humpty Hitchens is an active defender and a potentially-dangerous scorer (not to mention the best first name in the CAA), while junior point guard Devon Moore has returned after missing the first semester. When healthy, Moore has been among the CAA’s top floor generals.

Swingman Julius Wells (8.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg), the 2008 CAA Rookie of the Year, has missed three straight games with a bout of the flu that required a hospital visit. His status is unclear.

The Dukes have been in a near free-fall since Christmas, including troubling losses to Rhode Island, Northeastern and William & Mary. JMU is incredibly thin in the post, and it’s left the Dukes overly reliant on the 3-pointer (although they lead the CAA in 3-pointers per game at 7.5 per). As expected, rebounding has been a major issue for JMU.

Fast facts: James Madison has made vast improvements since Brady took over the program in 2008, but the Dukes have not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 1994. They were coached that season by Lefty Driesell, who is also the last man to lead Georgia State to the NCAA Tournament.

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