William & Mary Athletics

Marcus Thornton leads William & Mary past James Madison (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

With a win over William & Mary on Sunday afternoon James Madison would have forced a four-way tie for third in the CAA standings, and with players such as Andre Nation and Andrey Semenov the Dukes were equipped to do just that. Unfortunately for JMU the Tribe had Marcus Thornton, who scored a game-high 26 points to lead William & Mary to a close 81-79 victory in Harrisonburg.

Each team finished the game with four players scoring in double figures (Semenov led JMU with 23), but the Tribe offset their 15 turnovers by outscoring James Madison by 18 points (39-21) from beyond the arc. William & Mary had some dicey moments late, most notably their fouling Ron Curry on a three-point attempt while leading by four with three seconds remaining.

Semenov was able to rebound Curry’s intentionally missed third free throw, but his attempt to tie the game fell short. With the win William & Mary (5-3 CAA) remains a game out of second place in the loss column, with Towson boasting a 5-2 record. James Madison drops into a three-way tie for sixth with the loss, with Drexel and Hofstra also being 3-5 in CAA play.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

Leave a comment

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Leave a comment

Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.