I asked Moore if his heart skipped a beat as Thornton, a sophomore and the CAA’s No. 2 scorer, released the jumper.
“It definitely did,” Moore said, “because he’s a great player. He made plays that seniors make. … I just knew if he got a little daylight we were probably going into overtime. … I told him after the game he’ll have a lot more shots like that to take.”
The victory advances JMU to the CAA semifinals for the first time since 2001 – the Dukes face second-seeded Delaware on Sunday – and delays rampant speculation about coach Matt Brady’s job security. He’s 85-81 in five seasons, but 39-51 in CAA regular-season play.
“It’s really not a factor,” Brady said. “Had we lost tonight, it’s a looming question. But it’s really not pertinent to what these kids accomplished. This is about our kids, our team, our program and the JMU community.
“The fact of the matter is, I’ll be fine. This is about our team trying to advance and do something special. I think we’ve got seniors [the Dukes start four] that can get it done.”
Good answer to an awkward question.
Shaver, too, believed his team, chasing the program’s first NCAA tournament bid, was capable of something special.
“I think our future’s very bright,” he said, “I really do. … We’ve got a great nucleus coming back, on paper one of the best recruiting classes we’ve ever had.”
Indeed, players expected back next season accounted for all of William and Mary’s points Saturday. The offseason mission, Shaver said, is to “find that one degree, that one percent (that makes the difference).
“We’ve GOT to find a way to get that done.”
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