JMU holds off late rally, beats UNC-G, 85-73
James Madison built a 20-point halftime lead and withstood UNCG’s rally to within three in the second half to record an 85-73 victory in a non-conference men’s basketball game on Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.
JMU won for the third time in four games to improve to 4-6 overall while finishing a five-game home stand. UNCG, which hadn’t played in 15 days, fell to 2-6.
Redshirt senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) turned in one of his best career all-around performances, matching his career high with 22 points while adding nine rebounds, a season-high seven assists and three steals.
While Moore was dominating the backcourt, redshirt senior forward Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) was having his way in the frontcourt with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. Combined, Moore and Goins went 18-for-29 from the floor (62 percent).
JMU grabbed the lead from the start. Leading 11-9, the Dukes embarked upon a 10-0 run as part of an overall 15-3 streak to earn a 26-12 advantage. The Spartans never got closer than nine the rest of the half as the Dukes continued to apply pressure. The Dukes took their largest lead of the half into the break with a 49-29 advantage.
UNCG looked like a different team out of the locker room. With a burst of energy, the Spartans reeled off a quick 15-3 run to crawl back into the game. They continued to cut the margin to five at 60-55 while shooting 10-for-14 from the field to open the half.
UNCG got as close as three points, trailing 66-63 with 6:23 to go when Goins hit a post-up layup and redshirt senior forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) hit a dunk from Moore to extend the lead to seven. From there, the Dukes went 10-for-12 at the foul line in the final two minutes to seal the 12-point victory.
The Dukes had four players in double figures with Moore and Goins joined by Semenov and freshman guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI). Semenov had 14 points while Curry added a career-high 13 points and six assists.
After being held to six points in the first half, UNCG leading scorer Trevis Simpson went off for 18 in the second half to finish with 24. Reserve guard Nicholas Paulos got hot from the outside, hitting 5-of-6 from the arc for 15 points. The Spartans were missing their second-leading scorer, Derrell Armstrong (15.0 points/game).
JMU shot a consistent 56.6 percent for the game and made a concerted effort to attack the lane in the second half, attempting only one three-point field goal. The Dukes were 6-for-12 from the arc in the opening period. Madison forced 11 turnovers in the first half for an 18-2 advantage in points off turnovers in order to build the 20-point lead.
After being held to 25.8 percent shooting in the second half, the Spartans shot 47 percent after the intermission. However, UNCG cooled off to go 6-for-20 after the 10-for-14 opening to the second stanza. The Spartans benefitted from a 40-32 rebounding edge, with 18 offensive rebounds leading to an 18-4 comparison in second-chance points.
After five straight games at home, JMU plays its next five away from the Convo, beginning with the Vegas Holiday Hoops event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Dukes face San Jose State on Saturday (Dec. 22) at 11:30 p.m. (EST) followed by a 6:30 p.m. (EST) game on Sunday against San Diego.