Jared McCain makes 8 3s, scores 30 points as Duke ends James Madison’s March Madness run

Duke center Ryan Young (15) reacts after dunking during the first half of a second-round college basketball game against James Madison in the NCAA Tournament,, Sunday, March 24, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Duke center Ryan Young (15) reacts after dunking during the first half of a second-round college basketball game against James Madison in the NCAA Tournament,, Sunday, March 24, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — Sixteen seconds into the game, Jared McCain took a kick-out pass from Kyle Filipowski, swished a 3 from the wing and smiled toward the raucous section of James Madison fans as if to say, better get used to this.

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.

“I feel like every game, I’m always ready to see if I’m going to go off,” McCain said.

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.

“As a shooter when you hit some early, obviously they want to press up on you. So it definitely makes the game wide open for drives, for kicks,” McCain said.

The Dukes (32-4) finished with a program record for victories.

“They are a tremendous basketball team,” coach Mark Byington said. “They left a legacy at JMU forever.”

Attention for the Sun Belt champions now turns to whether they can keep Byington. One opening he was thought to be a candidate for, at West Virginia, was filled Sunday night by Drake’s Darian DeVries.

“This was the best team and one of the best coaches I ever had in my life,” said Edwards, a senior who led the Dukes with 13 points.

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 of seven 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 quiet offensive performance from Filipowski (three points and one shot attempt), 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 NCAA Tournament in the second round by Tennessee last season, coach Jon Scheyer’s first as Mike Krzyzewski’s replacement.

Duke got bullied by the Volunteers and expected JMU to try to do the same.

“None of us forgot about what happened in Tennessee in the second round,” Filipowski said. “I think we learned our lesson last year.”

Scheyer has been part of seven Sweet 16 teams as a player and an assistant at Duke. Now he’s got his first as a head coach after the Blue Devils entered the tournament on a two-game losing streak.

Scheyer said the offense was the problem in losses to North Carolina to end the regular season and to North Carolina State to start the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. The Blue Devils went to work on that with extra time to prepare for the NCAAs.

“You’re not going to score 93 points every game, but I do think our offense was a lot better in these two games,” he said.

McCain started sharp, knocking down his first six 3-pointers. 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 made 3 of the half, he spread is arms as he jogged back on D and said something to nobody in particular. Maybe a little Michael Jordan shrug?

“I don’t know what I was doing,” he said. “I wasn’t really conscious out there.”

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.

“I mean if he’s shooting the shot — wide-open 3, contested 3 — we all think it’s going in,” Proctor said. “We got a huge belief in him and he has a huge belief in himself.”

Duke led 47-25 at the half, JMU’s largest deficit of the season.

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.

INJURY

Duke guard Jeremy Roach came out of the game early with what Scheyer called a dislocated finger. Duke’s athletic trainer taped Roach’s ring and pinky fingers on his left hand together and he ended up playing 34 minutes.

UP NEXT

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

___

AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

Sports Headlines

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed AP

Trending on NewsNation