Virginia held James Madison without a field goal the last 7 1/2 minutes and won the Times-Dispatch tournament tonight, 57-44, in a matchup of unbeaten state rivals at the Coliseum.
The Dukes (8-1) scored only 17 points the second half against Virginia (10-0), ranked second by United Press International and third by The Associated Press.
This is a more defensively oriented Virginia team than the one that reached the NCAA final four last season. It has more flexibility, Coach Terry Holland said. It is quicker, center Ralph Sampson argued. It can adjust well to what the opposition does, guard Othell Wilson added.
But the end result is what happened tonight.
"A low-scoring game like this one is what they obviously prefer more than we do," Holland said. "Because they're very solid and so disciplined it is especially tough for us. It turned out to be a defensive struggle."
Virginia's man-to-man defense, the 2-3 zone it used in the final five minutes and the 7-foot-4 Sampson stymied Madison just when the Dukes appeared to be in position for an upset. Madison got just one free throw -- following a Virginia technical foul for grabbing the rim -- in the final 7 1/2 minutes after trailing only 46-43.
A Sampson slam followed by a Craig Robinson slam, both resulting in disputed technicals for grabbing the rim, gave Virginia a 50-44 lead with 5:39 remaining.
"We zoned in the final five minutes although we are not really comfortable with that against a shooter like (Linton) Townes," Holland said.
Virginia's zone forced Madison, which made only 17 of 44 shots and missed its last seven, to shoot from the outside. Sampson, who had 22 points and 14 rebounds, recovered five rebounds down the stretch to insure the victory.
"We backed up in the zone and tried to make them get back in the game from the outside," said Wilson, who had nine points and four assists. "Obviously, I had to be aware of Townes. Nobody else was shooting, so he had to."
Townes made six of 14 shots and had 14 points, but in the last five minutes made only one of six shots.
"It wasn't just his missed shots," said Madison Coach Lou Campanelli. "Charles (Fisher) hit only one of nine from the same point that he hit four of four last year against Notre Dame (in the NCAA regional semifinals). Their lead, their defense and Sampson made it difficult for us near the end."
Madison's patient offense and scrappy defense had kept the Dukes close until the final minutes. Even Sampson's hot start in the second half, when he made two turn-around jump shots from the baseline and tipped in a miss by Robinson, was offset by the shooting of Townes and 6-8 center Dan Ruland.