James Madison spurts past Coppin State, 95-76

HARRISONBURG, VA. — HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison jumped to a big lead, then had to fight off doldrums shortly after halftime before putting away Coppin State, 95-76, last night before 5,000 at the JMU Convocation Center.

Coppin guard Sidney Goodman led all scorers with 28 points, including six baskets from three-point range. Stephen Stewart and Tariq Saunders added 11 points apiece.


James Madison had five players in double figures, including Kent Culuko with 22 points and Clayton Ritter with 20.

James Madison's Brian Edwards opened the scoring with a 15-foot jump shot that was countered by Stewart's driving layup.


With all five starters scoring, JMU (3-0) then put up 14 straight points for a 16-2 lead with 14:50 left in the half. The Dukes were never seriously challenged after that.

While JMU entered the game with six players scoring in double figures, two Eagles -- Stewart with 25 points and Saunders with ** 13 -- had contributed most of the offense in Coppin's opening 85-61 loss to Kansas State.

Against James Madison, Goodman had 10 and Stewart seven of Coppin State's first 17 points.

Coppin (0-2) did pull to within 11 points at 40-29 after Goodman hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with 6:19 remaining before the break and added a foul shot 30 seconds later.

But JMU was able to pull to a 56-41 advantage at halftime.

A Clayton Ritter layup and Paul Carter's tip-in put the Dukes ahead, 61-43, with 18:18 to go. The Eagles responded, however, with 10 unanswered points -- five coming from Saunders' tip and three-point basket -- to narrow the gap into single figures at 61-53 with 13:56 on the clock.

That was it for any Coppin State comeback hopes. The Dukes scored 20 of the next 22 points, including the last 18 in a row.

That streak was punctuated when Stewart fouled out and was called for a technical. Culuko made all four free throws to put James Madison ahead 81-55 with 6:56 left.


Ritter, who had made all 10 shots for 20 points in the Dukes' 89-80 home triumph over Auburn Saturday, was successful on all four of his first-half field-goal attempts. But he saw his school record of 15 straight end 10 short of the NCAA mark when he missed an open layup 38 seconds into the second half.