JMU grinds out win over Drexel

James Madison used a key 8-0 run to take the lead and closed the game on a 24-13 swing to defeat Drexel 60-52 in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.

JMU snapped a three-game skid and improved to 16-6 overall, 6-4 in the CAA. Drexel fell to 13-7 overall and 5-5 in the CAA. The game featured a pair of teams tied for fifth in the league standings at the halfway point of the conference season.

JMU trailed 39-36 with 7:01 remaining when it embarked upon its key 8-0 run. Senior forward Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) hit a jumper. Moments later a steal by senior guard Ben Louis (Melbourne, Australia/St. Francis Xavier) led to a layup by freshman Chad Jackson (Georgetown, Ky./Scott County) for the first Dukes’ lead in eight minutes.

After a missed Drexel free throw, Bowles hit a pair of free throws and added a powerful fastbreak dunk on a pass from Louis to make it 44-39 with 4:16 to go.

Drexel got no closer than three the rest of the way. A Bowles fadeaway 12-footer with 3:04 to go was the last JMU field goal in the game. Chris Fouch answered with a baseline eight-footer in traffic but missed the free throw on the three-point play opportunity.

JMU responded by hitting 14 of its 16 free-throw attempts in the final 1:58, beginning with a pair by sophomore guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) on a key technical foul on Drexel coach Bruiser Flint with 1:58 remaining. Altogether, JMU outscored Drexel 24-13 over the final seven minutes.

Bowles led all players with 19 points and added eight rebounds and three blocks for the Dukes. Junior forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) added 13 points, seven boards, and three assists.

Guard Gerald Colds had 16 points to lead the Dragons. Fouch added 12 and Samme Givens narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 12 points.

JMU won despite not making a three-point field goal in a game (0-for-9) for the first time since losing at Richmond on Jan. 27, 1997. Drexel ranked fifth in the country for three-point percent defense (27.6%) heading into the game.

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