James Madison leads wire to wire in upset of Wisconsin

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 23 Mar, 2024 at 06:55 AM

Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -- Terrence Edwards Jr. scored 14 points Friday night for 12th-seeded James Madison, which never trailed as it upset fifth-seeded Wisconsin 72-61 in a South Region first-round matchup.

James Madison (32-3), which extended the nation's longest active winning streak to 14 games, will play Duke in a second-round game Sunday. The fourth-seeded Blue Devils beat No. 13 Vermont 64-47 earlier Friday.

T.J. Bickerstaff and Julien Wooden scored 12 points apiece, while Michael Green III added 11 points for the Dukes, who advanced beyond the first round for the first time since 1983.

"I'm proud of them, but not surprised. These guys compete," James Madison coach Mark Byington said of his team. " ... We kind of heard things about our schedule not being tough and who we are. And we knew we belonged. We know we're good. We know we can compete and they showed that today from start to finish.

With James Madison's victory, a 12 seed has won at least one game against a five seed in 33 of the 39 NCAA Tournaments since it expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Steven Crowl had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Max Klesmit scored all 18 of his points while hitting five 3-pointers in the second half for Wisconsin (22-14), which hasn't advanced beyond the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament since the 2016-17 sason. AJ Storr had 13 points.

Seven players scored in a game-opening 18-5 run for James Madison, which led by as many as 17 before ending the half with a 33-20 lead. The 20 points were the fewest in a half this season by Wisconsin, which committed 13 turnovers in the half.

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said the Dukes were "even more impressive in person than they were on film, and I was really impressed with them on film. I thought their pressure bothered us, specifically the first half, obviously, with 13 turnovers. They really got after us and we didn't handle it exceptionally well. And when we did, we weren't able to finish at times around the rim and missed some easy shots."

Wisconsin cut the deficit to single digits four times in the second half before Storr had an old-fashioned three-point play and Klesmit -- who took just two shots in the first half -- hit a 3-pointer in a 6-1 run that cut the gap to 52-46 with 8:54 left.

The teams combined to miss their next four shots before Noah Freidel sank a corner 3-pointer 65 seconds later to begin an 11-3 surge for the Dukes, who led by at least nine points the rest of the way.

"Playing with momentum (is a) really big deal in this tournament, at this time of March," Klesmit said. "Kind of saw how it played against us early in the first half. Obviously cutting it down to three or four would have helped us out big time, got the crowd back into it.

--Jerry Beach, Field Level Media