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Duke squashes James Madison’s upset hopes, ending Sun Belt champs’ season at 32-4

NEW YORK — Jared McCain scored 22 of his 30 points in the first half and set a Duke record for an NCAA Tournament game with eight 3-pointers as the Blue Devils ended 12th-seeded James Madison’s dream season with a 93-55 second-round victory Sunday.

The fourth-seeded Blue Devils (26-8) are headed to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of Houston-Texas A&M in the South Region semifinals Friday in Dallas.

McCain and Duke emphatically ended the nation’s longest active winning streak at 14 games, taking a 22-point lead into halftime and never letting the advantage slip below 20 in the second half. The rugged defense JMU used to beat Wisconsin in the first round didn’t seem to bother the Blue Devils at all.

The Dukes (32-4) finished with a program record for victories. Terrence Edwards Jr. led JMU with 13 points. Attention for the Sun Belt champions now turns to fourth-year coach Mark Byington, who has been speculated to be a candidate to fill the vacancy at West Virginia.

McCain made his eighth 3 with 11:59 left in the second half, holding the follow-through and making the score 66-39.

The charismatic freshman from California broke a school record set by Quinn Cook in a stunning first-round loss to Mercer in 2014.

It was all smiles for the Blue Devils in this one. They finished 14 for 28 from 3-point range.

Two days after Duke beat Vermont with a quiet offensive performance from 7-footer Kyle Filipowski (three points and one shot), the second-team All-American had 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting against JMU.

Tyrese Proctor added 18 points and four 3-pointers.

Duke was knocked out of the tournament in the second round by Tennessee last season, coach Jon Scheyer’s first as Mike Krzyzewski’s replacement.

Scheyer has been part of seven Sweet 16 teams as a player and an assistant. Now he’s got his first as a head coach.

McCain started sharp, knocking down his first six 3-pointers and flashing big smiles toward the JMU fan section after he did. His fourth 3 with 11:49 left in the first half made it 24-9 and drew a timeout from the Dukes.

After McCain’s sixth straight 3 of the half, he spread his arms as he jogged back on defense and said something to nobody in particular. McCain finished the half with two long-range misses to break the streak, but nearly matched JMU’s point total with 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting. It was 47-25 at the half.

Sweet trio

The North Carolina “Triangle” region that is home to the Blue Devils, North Carolina and North Carolina State will have all three schools reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015. The top-seeded Tar Heels beat Michigan State in Saturday’s West Region, while the 11th-seeded Wolfpack continued an improbable surge by beating Oakland in the South bracket.


Duke reached the second weekend of March Madness for the 27th time in 39 tournaments since the event expanded to 64 teams in 1985.


  • Elizabeth Morin

    Elizabeth Morin is a writer based in Virginia Beach. She is passionate about local sports, politics and everything in between. Morin Elizabeth

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