JMU bests Drexel, 51-43

jmu logoIn a nationally-televised defensive battle, the James Madison men’s basketball team made key plays in the late stages to earn a 51-43 Colonial Athletic Association win over visiting Drexel on Jan. 12. With the victory, the Dukes advanced to 9-8 and 3-1 in the CAA, while the Dragons fell to 5-11 and 1-3 in the conference.

Tied at 38 with 4:43 remaining in the contest, Madison put together a 10-0 run and a 13-5 final spurt, led by senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland). Moore scored five of his game-high 14 points in the final 1:02, including a key conventional three-point play to make it a three-possession game. JMU also took advantage of its charity stripe opportunities, converting 11-of-15 in the final two minutes of play.

Both teams shot around 37 percent from the floor for the game, and each had seven or fewer turnovers for the contest. The difference makers were on the boards, won by JMU 38-28, and at the free-throw line, where JMU was 13-of-18 while Drexel was just 5-of-11.

After the visitors had two early leads, Madison took the early control of the game and built an 11-point margin at 25-14 with 4:53 to go in the first half before settling for an eight-point margin at the break, 27-19. The visiting Dragons chipped away at the lead, closing it to within a point on three occasions before finally tying the game at 38 late in the second half. However, the visitors could never gain the lead, and JMU picked up the key home league win.

In addition to his 14 points, Moore added in five assists, five rebounds and a pair of steals, while senior forward Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville (Cincinnati State)) tied for game-high honors with 14 points, including a pair of three-pointers while adding six rebounds. Freshman Taylor Bessick (Philadelphia, Pa./Rise Academy), in his first collegiate start, had nine points, a season and game-high 13 rebounds and one blocked shot.

For Drexel, guard Frantz Massenat was the only Dragon in double figures with 13 points, while forwards Dartaye Ruffin and Tavon Allen each chipped in eight. Forward Kazembe Abif was the leader on the glass for DU with nine boards.

The Dukes will now hit the road for their next two CAA contests, starting at George Mason on Tue., Jan. 15. Tip-off at the Patriot Center for the Comcast SportsNet-televised game is set for 7 p.m.

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