From 1982 to 2020, the Convocation Center was the home for some of JMU basketball’s greatest moments. With Convo’s time hosting the basketball programs at a close, it’s time to look at the top games at the arena.
No. 1: The Convo era begins
The Convocation Center opened on Nov. 28, 1982, when JMU men’s basketball defeated VMI, 58-33. Senior guard Charles Fisher led the Dukes in scoring with 16 points, and senior center Dan Ruland grabbed nine rebounds. It was a great start for the place JMU would call home for the next 38 years.
No. 2: JMU women’s basketball caps undefeated home season vs. Richmond
By defeating Richmond 69-39 at the Convocation Center on Feb. 17, 1986, JMU women’s basketball finished 13-0 at home for the season. The Dukes made the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament that season.
No. 3: JMU women’s basketball wins 1987 CAA Tournament
JMU women’s basketball defeated American on March 1, 1987, to win the CAA Tournament and clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Dukes went 14-0 in conference play that season and defeated Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Texas in the regional semifinals.
No. 4: JMU women’s basketball beats Clemson in NCAA Tournament
The mid-to-late 1980s were some of the best years in JMU women’s basketball, and it showed especially in the Dukes’ 70-63 victory over Clemson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the third of four straight seasons that JMU made the NCAA Tournament and the first of two straight seasons that the Dukes hosted an NCAA Tournament game at the Convo.
No. 5: JMU men’s basketball outfights Richmond in final home game of the 1993-94 season
On the last Saturday of February, JMU men’s basketball won by two over in-state rival Richmond, 80-78. Four Dukes scored in double figures, led by senior forward Clayton Ritter’s 22. Even though JMU was heavily outrebounded, it made up for it by making 14 free throws. The Dukes went on to make the NCAA Tournament that season.
No. 6: Game-winner gives JMU men’s basketball undefeated home record
On Feb. 28, 2000, in the final game of the regular season, senior center Rob Strickland hit a layup with 6.9 seconds left, and then blocked UNCW’s ensuing field-goal attempt to give JMU men’s basketball an undefeated record of 13-0 at the Convocation Center. Senior guard Jabari Outtz had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists for JMU. The Dukes also tied for the CAA regular-season title with George Mason with the victory.
No. 7: JMU men’s basketball beats Towson before magical CAA Tournament run
JMU men’s basketball emerged victorious 75-70 over Towson on Feb. 12, 2013. It was the last home win for the Dukes before they went on an incredible run where they won the CAA Tournament and made it into the NCAA Tournament. Redshirt senior guard A.J. Davis led the Dukes with 17 points off the bench, and senior guard Devon Moore went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the last 45 seconds.
No. 8: JMU women’s basketball wins its 1,000 game
With a 74-57 victory over UNCW on January 6, 2015, JMU women’s basketball joined Tennessee and Louisiana Tech as the only programs to win 1,000 games. In the victory, senior forward Toia Giggetts reached the 1,000-point plateau, and junior guard Precious Hall scored 25 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds. According to the NCAA, the Dukes have the fourth-most victories in college basketball history, behind Tennessee, UConn and Louisiana Tech.
No. 9: JMU men’s basketball clinches share of regular-season crown
In the final game of the 2014-15 regular season, JMU men’s basketball defeated Hofstra 82-73 to clinch a share of the CAA regular-season title with William & Mary. Junior guard Ron Curry racked up his first career double-double with 20 points and 11 assists, while sophomore guard Jackson Kent scored a career-high 20 points, draining five three-pointers and sinking five free throws. It is, to date, the last time JMU men’s basketball has captured the CAA crown.
No. 10: Farewell, Convo
JMU women’s basketball closed the Convocation Center with a nail-biting 69-64 victory over Delaware. Senior guard Kamiah Smalls led all the team in scoring with 21 points, while freshman forward Rayne Tucker had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. JMU went 13-1 in its final season at the Convo. Head coach Sean O’Regan picked up his 100th victory the game before against Drexel, and the Dukes finished with less than 100 losses at the Convo in their 38 years at the arena.
Contact Joshua Gingrich at email@example.com. For more basketball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.