Dayton, OH – Andre Nation scored 14 points to go with seven rebounds and five blocks to lead James Madison to a 68-55 win over Long Island in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday.
A.J. Davis added 20 points and Charles Cooke finished with 15 points for the Dukes (21-14), who will face top-seeded Indiana in the second-round of an Eastern region matchup on Friday.
James Madison's leading-scorer Rayshawn Goins was suspended for the first half because of disciplinary reasons. Goins finished with four points and eight rebounds.
"While Rayshawn was sitting out, a couple of guys came off the bench and stepped up for us," Davis said.
Jamal Olasewere had 20 points and 10 rebounds and C.J. Garner added 16 for the Blackbirds (20-14), who were held to their lowest offensive output this season.
The Dukes started off hot and jumped out to an early 10-2 lead. The Blackbirds shaved the lead to 14-8 following an Olasewere jumper, but Davis and Cooke canned back-to-back treys to make it 20-8 at the 11:10 mark.
Garner, who left the game early in the first half with an apparent ankle injury, pulled LIU within eight after an acrobatic layup with just under 8 1/2 minutes left, but Nation buried a triple 20 seconds later to push the spread back to 11 points.
Moore's 3-pointer gave the James Madison a 30-18 advantage with 4:09 left in the first half, but Garner knocked down a tough jumper to spark a 13-2 run to make it 32-31 entering the break.
After Garner's jumper, Jason Brickman and Joseph knocked down back-to-back treys before Cooke nailed a jumper as the shot clocked expired, but Brickman answered right back with another 3-ball.
After Davis' trey rimmed out, Brickman found E.J. Reed under the basket for a slam with five seconds left to pull the Blackbirds within one point after the first 20 minutes.
LIU took its first lead of the game with a pair of Reed free throws at the 15:01 mark of the second half, but the Dukes scored nine straight to take a 48-40 edge.
Olasewere got the Blackbirds within 54-51 with just over eight minutes left, but James Madison countered with a 12-2 run to take a commanding 66-53 lead with just over 1 1/2 minutes left.
"I felt we fought hard. Tonight they were the better team, I guess," Olasewere said.
Nation tied a career-high with five blocks ... James Madison has won all three games with LIU all-time ... Davis made four JMU's eight 3-pointers ... The Blackbirds were just 3-for-16 from 3-point range ... Brickman finished with six points and nine assists in the setback.