Marcus Thornton scored a game-high 26 points and added two rebounds and two assists for the Tribe, which last swept the Dukes in the 2007-08 season.
Perhaps the win was a good omen. It was in 2008 that W&M reached the tournament championship game for the first time, falling to George Mason in the finals.
The Tribe are ranked third in the CAA, just a half-game behind Towson for second place. W&M ranks second in the conference in scoring, and has an experienced backcourt that can spread the floor and knock down open shots.
That was the case Sunday as W&M (13-8 overall, 5-3 conference) bolted out to a large first-half lead. Brandon Britt came off the bench to score 11 points and Thornton added seven more as the Tribe built its largest lead at 38-22 on a 3-pointer from Daniel Dixon.
Andrey Semenov scored eight straight points for JMU (8-14, 3-5) to slice the lead in half, 38-30, with 1:12 left. Thornton then hit a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 41-30 at intermission.
The Dukes rallied in the second half, erasing the deficit in just over 6 minutes. Andre Nation scored six points and Taylor Bessick added five. Ron Curry followed with a long 3-pointer to give JMU its first lead of the game, 49-48, with 13:49 to play.
The Tribe refused to wilt, responding with a 20-9 spurt. Thornton scored 11 points during the run including a trio of 3-pointers, as W&M led 68-57 with 8:05 left.
JMU tried to answer late, as Charles Cooke converted a conventional 3-point play to pull within 74-72 with 1:16 left. W&M sealed the win from the free-throw line, sinking 7 of 8 in the final minute. Freshman Omar Prewitt was especially effectiving, going 4-for-4 from the line.
Tim Rusthoven finished with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks for W&M. Prewitt came off the bench to score 10 points and collect five assists. Four Tribe players scored in double figures.
Semenov had 23 points and eight rebounds for JMU. Nation finished with 18 points and six boards, and Cooke added 15 points and four assists.
W&M finishes the week with a pair of road games. The Tribe will face UNC-Wilmington on Wednesday. The team will travel to Boston on Saturday to face Northeastern. Game time is 7 p.m. for both games.
Compiled by John Harvey