A 90 percent free throw shooter, James Madison guard Charles Fisher was understandably "surprised" that West Virginia fouled him in the waning seconds of the first-round game of the Eastern Regional.
But Fisher, a senior guard, still made seven of seven free throws in the final 49 seconds to lead the Dukes to a 57-50 victory. The victory sets up a regional rematch between JMU and second-seeded North Carolina, which defeated the Dukes, 52-50, in the second round of last year's East Regional.
In the second game, Calvin Duncan scored 22 points as Virginia Commonwealth defeated La Salle, 76-67. The Rams (24-6) will play Georgia (21-9) Saturday.
"I was hoping they would foul me, but I was surprised," said Fisher, who made all nine free throws and led the Dukes with 13 points. "I thought they'd foul someone else."
James Madison (20-10) relied on a patient offense and a variety of defenses to slow the Mountaineers, who had been averaging 80.9 points per game. The Dukes also displayed surprising strength inside, holding a 33-18 rebounding advantage.
"West Virginia has fine quickness and athletic ability," said James Madison Coach Lou Campanelli. "We controlled the tempo of the game and their press.
"Those were two of the keys of the win. We did not allow their pressing defense to dictate the tempo and that press was the major reason they averaged 80 points per game."
James Madison led, 23-20, at halftime and took the lead for good with 8:30 left on a jumper by Keith Bradley. Neither team held more than a six-point lead until Fisher made five straight free throws to give James Madison a 54-46 lead with 25 seconds remaining.
West Virginia (23-8) pulled within 54-40 on Dale Blaney's jumper with 12 seconds left. The Mountaineers attempted to draw the charge on the ensuing two inbounds passes, but they were called for blocking fouls. Donohoe made one free throw and Fisher made two with four seconds left.
With their switching defenses, the Dukes were able to contain Greg Jones, West Virginia's sophomore guard. Jones, who has been averaging 22.8 points per game, scored only six points on three-of-nine shooting.
"If there is one thing I could wish, it would be for all of you to see Greg Jones in a full-court, uptempo, transition basketball game," said West Virginia Gale Catlett. "They threw a lot of defenses at him tonight and he really never got into his game."
With Jones in check, West Virginia relied on Blaney, who finished with 17 points, 11 above his average. Russel Todd and center Tim Kearney scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
"Offensively, we got the shots we wanted," Campanelli said. "We did not force shots, just pulled up when we had the ones we wanted."