NCAA

James Madison and West Virginia try to outdo each other with bizarre decisions

nealbrown_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

James Madison and West Virginia try to outdo each other with bizarre decisions

James Madison may hail from the FCS, but it has a track record of making things close with FBS teams. The Dukes have beaten three teams from the other side of Division I since 2010, which ranks second among FCS teams over that span.

On Saturday, JMU traveled to West Virginia to take on the Mountaineers in what proved to be a sloppy yet exciting contest through the end. But then, late in the fourth quarter, things started to get weird.

The Dukes were down 20-13 with three and half minutes left in the fourth quarter and no timeouts when they faced a 4th-and-8 situation from their own 22-yard line. But rather than go for the first down, JMU head coach Curt Cignetti trotted out the punt team—leaving college football fans pretty confused to say the least.

JMU got the ball back with a little less than a minute to play, but a holding call and a Mountaineers sack ended the Dukes’ chances of leaving Morgantown with a victory.

Yet even though the game ended, the strange events continued to unfold. West Virginia players gave first-year head coach Neal Brown a Gatorade bath to celebrate the win—a tradition typically reserved for games that end with trophy ceremonies.

https://twitter.com/rylucas12/status/1167908993290760193?s=20

It’s only Week 1, folks. If James Madison and West Virginia are any indication, this season is going to be an interesting one.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Smith scores 17 to help No. 6 Maryland beat Fairfield 74-55

jalen-smith-terps-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Smith scores 17 to help No. 6 Maryland beat Fairfield 74-55

Jalen Smith had 17 points and eight rebounds, and No. 6 Maryland used depth and balance to wear down Fairfield in a 74-55 victory Tuesday might.

The Terrapins (4-0) took the lead for good at 9-8, increased the margin to 14 at halftime and cruised to the finish.

Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 12 points to pass James Gist and move into the Top 20 on Maryland's career scoring list with 1,424.

Sophomore Ricky Lindo Jr. contributed a career-high 13 points, and Eric Ayala also scored 13.

Landon Taliaferro scored 15 for the Stags (1-4). Twelve of Fairfield's 18 baskets were from beyond the arc.

Coming off an overtime loss to Loyola Maryland in which they committed 21 turnovers, the Stags had 16 against the Terrapins -- at least one by nine different players.

Fairfield cut a 15-point deficit to 55-46 before baskets by Cowan and Smith began a 12-3 spurt that made it 67-49 with 6:12 left. The highlight of the run was a resounding dunk by Smith off an alley-oop pass from Hakim Hart following a Fairfield turnover.

The Stags made only one field goal over the final 8 minutes.

Nine players scored in the first half for Maryland, and the Terrapins overcame an early deficit to take a 41-27 lead at the break.

Fairfield went 7 for 11 from beyond the arc before halftime, but committed 10 turnovers and was whistled for 12 fouls.

Maryland led 13-12 before a 3-pointer by Ayala and a dunk off a steal by Darryl Morsell sparked a 12-2 run that put the Terrapins up by 11.

Despite getting off to another slow start, the Terrapins completed the opening 20 minutes with their largest halftime lead of the season.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Diakite, No. 7 Virginia hold off Vermont, 61-55

diakit-uva-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Diakite, No. 7 Virginia hold off Vermont, 61-55

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Mamadi Diakite scored 19 points and No. 7 Virginia withstood a 3-point shooting display by Anthony Lamb and beat Vermont 61-55 on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers (4-0) trailed before Diakite's basket gave them a 50-49 lead with 5:12 left and sparked a 9-0 run. Jay Huff scored twice in the spurt and Braxton Key hit a 3-pointer as Virginia held the Catamounts scoreless, and forced four turnovers, in a nearly four-minute span.

Lamb scored 30 for Vermont (4-1), including 25 in the second half, to nearly match the point total of the Cavaliers' first two opponents of the season, who each managed just 34 points. Stef Smith added 11 points, but Virginia turned Vermont's 13 turnovers into 20 points.

Kihei Clark scored 15 points and Key had 14 points for Virginia.

Virginia led 24-18 at halftime, but Vermont used a 10-2 run to start the half to take its first lead since the early going. Lamb had seven points in the run, including the last five, and tacked on his team's next 12 points with four 3-pointers as the score was tied five times.

BIG PICTURE

Vermont: The Catamounts hang their hat on defense, too, and came into the game with a 107-9 record since the 2011-12 season when holding their opponents to 60 points or fewer

Virginia: The Cavaliers' defensive excellence has been essential early in the season as they still are struggling to find an offensive rhythm. Highly regarded freshman guard Casey Morsell came into the game having made just 2 of 21 field goal attempts and was 1 for 6. Virginia has made 21 3-pointers in its first four games and allowed 31, including 12 by the Catamounts in 33 attempts.

UP NEXT

The Catamounts face Central Connecticut State on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

The Cavaliers face Massachusetts on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

MORE NCAA NEWS: