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Cold-Shooting Hoos Suffer First Ever Loss to JMU 52-49

The Cavaliers heaved up 26 three-pointers, but made only four of them as Virginia lost to JMU for the first time on Tuesday night in Harrisonburg

In Virginia’s 58-40 victory over Providence exactly two weeks ago, Armaan Franklin made four of six three-pointers to help the Cavaliers to a victory over the Friars in the Legends Classic in Newark.

Since then, Franklin is 0 for his last 18 three-point attempts, including back-to-back 0/6 three-point shooting performances.

Those shooting woes were team-wide for Virginia on Tuesday night in Harrisonburg, as the Cavaliers shot a horrendous 4/26 (15.4%) from beyond the arc. Scoring droughts hit the Hoos often on the road against the Dukes and a pair of clutch shots from Takal Molson down the stretch helped JMU to pick up its first-ever victory over Virginia 52-49.

In front of a packed JMU crowd at the Atlantic Union Bank Center, the Cavaliers quieted the JMU fans by taking an early 10-2 lead behind six quick points from Jayden Gardner, who led all scorers in the game with a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double, his fourth double-double of the season.

Gardner sank a free throw line jump shot to give Virginia the 10-2 lead at the 12:44 mark of the first half. The Cavaliers would not make another field goal until a three-pointer by Kihei Clark with three seconds left in the half. A free throw by Taine Murray at the 9:34 mark was the only point for UVA over a stretch of 12 minutes and 41 seconds.

During that time, JMU went on a 22-1 run to erase the eight-point deficit and build a 13-point lead. The Dukes did not have a single scorer in double-figures, but they had eight players score in the game, led by Vado Morse, who scored five of his nine points in the first half.

JMU did not shoot much better than UVA from three-point range, making just four threes, but JMU only attempted 13 three-pointers in the game. Instead, the Dukes focused on slashing to the basket and scored 28 points in the paint.

A Kihei Clark corner three-pointer at the end of the first half ended the catastrophic Virginia scoring drought and JMU went into halftime with a 24-14 lead. Clark made three of Virginia’s four three-pointers and finished with 11 points and three assists. Reece Beekman made the other three-pointer for UVA.

Virginia put together a gradual comeback effort in the second half, but the Cavaliers could not get closer than seven points for several minutes. Kadin Shedrick scored all eight of his points in the second half, including six points during a pivotal 10-0 UVA run to finally retake the lead. Shedrick was left open just inside the three-point line and he made the long two to bring the Cavaliers within one point. On the next possession, Armaan Franklin curled into a floater to put Virginia in front at 45-44 with less than five minutes remaining.

Somehow, despite the dreadful 14-point first half and the generally appalling shooting performance in the entire game, the Hoos had a great chance to come away with the victory.

Virginia and JMU traded the lead six times in the final five minutes of the game. Charles Falden made an extremely contested jumper over Armaan Franklin, but Franklin responded by hitting a mid-range jump shot on the other end to put the Cavaliers back on top.

It was anyone’s ballgame at that point as both teams looked for someone to step up and make the crucial play to win the game. JMU’s Takal Molson ended up being that player.

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After Armaan Franklin’s jumper gave Virginia the lead, Molson drove on Jayden Gardner in the paint before spinning and making a hook shot to put JMU up 50-49 with 1:10 remaining. Franklin missed a jump shot in the corner to give the ball back to JMU with 45 seconds left.

After a timeout, JMU ran the shot clock down and put the ball back in the hands of Takal Molson, who once again drove on Gardner and made an acrobatic shot off of one foot over Gardner in the paint. That shot put the Dukes ahead by three with 22 seconds remaining.

Kihei Clark put up a contested three-pointer from the right wing that missed its mark and Virginia was forced to foul with four seconds left on the clock.

Terell Strickland missed the front end of the one-and-one and Gardner outletted the ball to Armaan Franklin, whose half-court heave missed to the right of the basket as time expired. JMU fans rushed the floor as the Dukes defeated the Cavaliers for the first time in the 12-game history of the series between these in-state opponents.

With the loss, Virginia falls to 6-4 on the season. UVA has an 11-day break for final exams before hosting Fairleigh Dickinson in the final non-conference game of the season on Saturday, December 18th. 

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