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Curry, JMU men’s basketball storm back to 69-63 road win at Hofstra

jmu logoJunior guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) had a career day as James Madison stormed back in the second half to rally past Hofstra for a 69-63 Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball victory Saturday afternoon at the Mack Sports Complex.

Curry finished with a career-high 25 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-6 from long range. He also made it to the free throw line 13 times, where he converted 10 times, while also tallying six rebounds and three steals in the win.

The Dukes (12-9, 5-3 CAA) limited the league’s top scoring offense to just 24.2 percent shooting (8-33) in the second half, allowing just 18 points. After giving up eight treys in the first half, JMU’s defense settled in from the perimeter and the Pride (14-7, 5-3 CAA) shot just 13.3 percent from beyond the arc on 2-of-15 shooting.

Also scoring in double figures was sophomore guard Jackson Kent (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian), who had 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Junior guard Winston Grays (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine (Cincinnati State)) accrued nine points while freshman guard Joey McLean (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) had eight points and sophomore forward Yohanny Dalembert (Port-au-Prince, Haiti/Lower Merion (Pa.)) added seven points and a team-high nine rebounds.

Madison shot 40.7 percent (22-54) for the game and made 50 percent (8-16) from 3-point land, while knocking down 85 percent (17-20) of its free throws, the best mark in five weeks as a team. The Pride finished with a 35.4 percent (23-65) shooting percentage, and was held to just 35.5 percent (11-31) from three. The Dukes did a tremendous job keeping HU off the free throw line, where it finished 6-of-10.

Hofstra was paced by Juan’ya Green, who scored 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting, to go with his game-high seven assists. Moussa Kone recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Jamall Robinson added 10 points off the bench.

The game remained close for much of the first half but with the game tied at 26-26, a Kone layup with 5:39 left sparked a 16-3 run, by way of four HU threes, to give the Pride a 42-29 lead with 3:07 left. JMU trailed by as many as 14 but a late bucket by Grays cut the deficit to 45-33 at the break.

JMU used a 7-0 run early in the second to cut Hofstra’s lead back to single digits but five straight points by Green gave the Pride a 52-40 lead with 16:31 left. The Dukes answered back with a huge run, which would eventually give JMU its first lead of the game.

The Pride hit a big scoring drought, missing seven shots and turning the ball over five times as JMU went on a 14-0 run over 5:35 to grab a narrow 54-52 lead with 9:44 left. During that span, redshirt sophomore forward Dimitrije Cabarkapa(Novi Sad, Serbia/High Medical School) came off the bench and scored five points, which included a big second-chance bucket off an offensive rebound as the Dukes held Hofstra without a point for over seven minutes.

The teams battled back and forth, but late in the game, JMU’s defense was huge when it needed to be. Tied at 63-63 after Kone layup, Dalembert took the feed from Grays and banked it in off the glass for the hoop and the harm, giving the Dukes a 66-63 lead with 1:32 left. The Pride was able to get up six 3-point attempts over the final 90 seconds but none fell as the Dukes used three more free throws from Curry to seal the win.

JMU opens a three-game homestand on Wednesday when it hosts Delaware at 7 p.m. inside the JMU Convocation Center.