James Madison coach Matt Brady suspended scoring and rebounding leader Rayshawn Goins for the first half of the Dukes’ NCAA Tournament game after Goins was arrested over the weekend.
The school said the suspension for the first-round game against Long Island University on Wednesday night is in accordance with JMU policy.
Harrisonburg, Va., police said Goins was arrested Sunday on charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing justice. Police said they were called to break up a party early Sunday morning and Goins was shouting obscenities at them and ‘‘enticing the crowd’’ before leaving with acquaintances.
Goins, who averaged 12.7 points and 7.4 rebounds this season, had 14 points and 13 boards in JMU’s win over Northeastern last week in the Colonial Athletic Association title game.
The Dukes (20-14) are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1994.
No stopping Liberty now
Liberty’s players and coaches woke up at 4:30 a.m. Monday for their charter flight. Instead of departing the airport at 7 in the morning, plane trouble kept them grounded for several hours. Not even that could ruin coach Dale Layer’s mood.
‘‘On 2½ hours of sleep, an 8-hour plane delay — hey, it’s great to be in Dayton!’’ Layer said with a wide smile.
After where the Flames have been this season, what’s a few more hours? It’s amazing they needed an aircraft to fly to the NCAA Tournament. Despite losing their first eight games and having a 10-20 record late in the season, they won their final five games and the Big South title to reserve a spot opposite North Carolina A&T in the NCAA First Four on Tuesday night.
‘‘When you’re 0-8, a lot of people quit,’’ Layer said. ‘‘Men quit. Grown-ups quit. But our guys just kept coming back. I told them in January, ‘There’s going to be a story in March about somebody — there is every year — that’s a Cinderella story.’ And I said, ‘Why couldn’t it be us?’ ’’
Graduation rates climbed
Overall graduation rates improved among players at schools in this year’s NCAA men’s tournament, and African-American players in particular did better, according to a study.
The annual report by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) showed African-American players’ graduation success rate increased from 59 percent in 2012 to 65 percent this year, while white players’ rates increased from 88 percent to 90 percent. The overall graduation rates for programs in the tournament increased from 67 percent in 2012 to 70 percent.
Six tournament teams — Southern, James Madison, Saint Louis, New Mexico State, Oregon, and Oklahoma State — have an APR score that falls below the NCAA’s new 930 line, which could lead to future penalties.
ACC honors BC duo
Boston College forward Ryan Anderson was named third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in voting by the coaches. BC’s Olivier Hanlan led the balloting for the All-Freshman team . . . Gonzaga’s first stint on top of the Associated Press’s college basketball poll lasted through the final Top 25 of the season. The Bulldogs (31-2), the fourth of the four top seeds in the NCAA Tournament, were a runaway No. 1 for a third straight week. They became the first school from a non-BCS conference to finish No. 1 in the final poll since Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 in 1996. Louisville, the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, was second, followed by Kansas and Indiana . . . A winter storm postponed Fairfield’s game against Kent State in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament until Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game was scheduled for Tuesday at Kent State’s M.A.C. Center on campus, but bad weather in the East forced a delay in Fairfield’s travel plans . . . Saint Michael’s coach Michael Harding announced his resignation after three seasons so he can attend to his his infant son, who was born prematurely more than a year ago. Assistant Josh Meyer was named to replace Harding . . . Doug Davalos won’t return as coach at Texas State after going 92-107 in six seasons . . . Former Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle was named coach at Grand Canyon University as the Phoenix school begins a four-year transition to NCAA Division 1.