Bowles' 40 leads JMU to victory
Senior forward Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) poured in a career-high 40 points to lead James Madison past Towson 72-61 in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game on Tuesday night at the Towson Center.
JMU improved to 19-9 overall and 9-7 in the CAA. With Drexel’s loss at UNC Wilmington, the Dukes climbed into a tie for fifth place in the CAA and clinched either the fifth or sixth seed in the CAA Tournament. TU fell to 4-21 overall and 0-16 in the CAA while dropping its 15th straight game.
Bowles scored 20 points in each half on 7-of-10 shooting in each period. His scoring output tied for the fifth-best individual performance in JMU history and was the seventh 40-point game. It was also the fifth 40-point game all-time in the Towson Center. He topped his previous career high of 37 points last year at Gardner-Webb and his previous season high of 34 against Marshall at home. Bowles climbed from 25th to 22nd on the career scoring chart with 1,046 points.
Sophomore guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) had a well-rounded final line with 14 points, a season-high eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Sophomore forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) added 11 points in his first start of the season.
Isaiah Philmore led Towson with 18 points and eight boards. Rashawn Polk added 13 while Dre Conner contributed 10.
JMU shot 62% from the floor in the second half to pull away from a tied game, 33-33, at the half. Towson was limited to 31% in the second half, including 2-for-11 (18%) from the arc. JMU held a 37-27 lead on the boards and outscored Towson in the paint 46-24 with 28 of that from Bowles.
The game was tight for the first 35 minutes with 13 lead changes and six ties. The Dukes were up by just one at 58-57 with 5:16 to go and led by three at 62-59 with four minutes on the clock before closing the game on a 10-2 run.
Moore and freshman guard Chad Jackson (Georgetown, Ky./Scott County) hit consecutive layups to estend the lead to seven points. A pair of free throws by Philmore cut it back to five at 66-61 with 1:55 to go.
Bowles then connected on a layup from Moore with 1:26 to go to hit 40 points. After a defensive stop, Moore and Semenov each hit a pair of free throws in the final 50 seconds to clinch the 72-61 victory.
With the score knotted at 9-9 in the first half, Bowles went on a personal 9-0 run to put the Dukes up 18-9 with 11 minutes to go. Towson responded with a run of its own to get right back in it, reclaiming the lead at 25-24 with 4:16 to go.
Towson took a lead as large as three points but a Bowles lay-in with the half running out tied the score at 33-33 at the break. Towson shot 48% from the field in the opening half while JMU hit 42%.