JMU holds off Radford
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Senior guard Pierre Curtis (Denver, Colo./East) and freshman guard Darren White (Danville, Va./Dan River) hit four free throws in the final 16 seconds to push James Madison past Radford 67-63 in a non-conference men’s basketball game Monday evening at the Convocation Center.
JMU snapped a four-game losing streak to improve to 9-11 for the season. RU dropped to 10-9. The contest was originally slated for Dec. 19 but was postponed due to a severe winter storm.
The Dukes trailed 55-54 with 3:12 to go before reeling off a 9-0 run to take their largest lead of the night at 63-55 with 49 seconds remaining. However, the lead vanished in 32 seconds thanks to an 8-0 spurt by the Highlanders.
Radford’s Amir Johnson hit a three and the inbounds pass was stolen, leading to a layup by Gorkem Sonmez for a 63-60 Madison advantage with 34 seconds to go.
JMU sophomore forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) was fouled on the ensuing throw in but missed the front end of the free throw opportunity.
Following a Radford missed three, Curtis was called for traveling while cradling a loose ball on the court. Johnson then hit another three to knot the score at 63-63 with 17 seconds to go.
Then with Curtis attempting to bring the ball up the court, Sonmez committed a foul to send Curtis to the line. Two made free throws put the Dukes in front 65-63.
Radford coughed up the ball on its final possession with 1.4 seconds to go, but Wells was called for a foul. Lazar Trifunovic missed the first free-throw opportunity and was called for a lane violation on the second intentional miss. An intentional foul by Trifunovic send White to the foul line, where he hit both to seal the 67-63 JMU triumph.
White led all scorers with 18 points, his highest output in 10 games for the Dukes. Junior forward Denzel Bowles (Denver, Colo./East) filled up the box score with 17 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks. It was his seventh double-double, which he reached on a rebound just 36 seconds into the second half. Wells finished with 15 points for the Dukes.
Five Highlanders reached double figured, led by Trifunovic with 16 points and 12 boards for the double-double. Blake Smith added 13 points and four assists while Johnson collected 11 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Artsiom Parakhouski, who entered averaging 23.6 points and 12.9 rebounds, posted 12 points and nine boards for Radford. Sonmez chipped in 11 points.
JMU trailed 33-30 at the half with Bowles tallying nine points, nine boards and three blocks in the opening frame. The Dukes did not take their first lead until a 6-0 run to open the second half put them in front 36-33. RU responded quickly with a 10-1 run to move ahead 43-37 with 14:29 remaining.
The lead for the Highlanders held until a pair of threes by Wells closed a 52-46 gap and tied the score with 5:02 to go. A fastbreak dunk by White and a three by Radford’s Blake Smith put RU in front 55-54 to set the stage for JMU’s 9-0 run.