Balanced offense pushes JMU past Citadel, 67-49

A balanced effort saw six players score between eight and 12 points while James Madison limited The Citadel to 36 percent shooting while posting a 67-49 victory in a non-conference men’s basketball game Monday night at the Convocation Center.

JMU improved to 5-3 after snapping a two-game home losing skid while The Citadel dropped its sixth game in a row to fall to 2-8. The 49 points allowed by the Dukes were the fewest dating back to a 49-44 home loss to Georgia State on Dec. 5, 2009.

The Dukes started the game on a 9-0 run, led 34-21 at the break and then hit a trio of three-point field goals over a two-minute stretch midway through the second half to go up by as much as 21 at 50-29. The Bulldogs got no closer than 17 the rest of the way as Madison cruised to the 67-49 victory.

JMU saw perhaps its most balanced offensive effort of the season, led by senior forwardJulius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) with 12 points and seven rebounds as well as senior guardHumpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) with 12 points, four assists and three steals. Junior forwardAndrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) was also in double figures with 11 points, including 3-for-3 from the arc, along with six boards.

Three junior guards finished with eight points for Madison, includingDevon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland), who added four assists, two steals and three rebounds in his first game of eligibility this season. A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Christian) totaled eight points, three rebounds and three assists whileAlioune Diouf (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) contributed four rebounds in his second career starting assignment. Junior centerGene Swindle (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) added a career-best six points and three boards.

Madison shot 52 percent from the floor and made eight three-pointers. Meanwhile, the Dukes limited the Bulldogs to 36 percent shooting from the floor and a total of just 24 made buckets in the game on 19 field goals and five free throws. The Citadel was 6-for-21 (29 percent) from the arc and just 5-for-16 (31 percent) at the charity stripe.

Mike Groselle had a double-double for the visitors with 11 points and 11 boards. No other player had more than eight for The Citadel.

JMU jumped out to a 9-0 lead out of the gate while holding The Citadel scoreless for six minutes. The Bulldogs got no closer than six (13-7) from that point forward, but Wells hit back-to-back threes to help JMU quickly extend the lead to 19-7. The Dukes maintained a steady lead for the rest of the period and took a 34-21 lead into the break.

A three by Semenov out of the half and a turnaround jumper by Diouf quickly extended JMU’s advantage to 39-21. The Citadel pulled as close as 14 at 41-27 before the decisive spurt from long range all but clinched the victory. Freshman forward Enoch Hood (Norfolk, Va./Booker T. Washington) found Wells for the first of three treys as part of a 9-2 run. Wells then paid it forward with an assist to Hitchens on a three while Hitchens, in turn, found Semenov for a three from the top of the arc to put the Dukes ahead 50-29 with 11:14 remaining.

JMU will be on the road for the first time since Nov. 26 as the Dukes travel to Washington, D.C. on Thursday to face the Colonials of George Washington at 7 p.m.

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