JMU holds on for 62-57 win over GW

James Madison built a 22-point lead with 13 minutes to go and managed just enough to hold off a furious George Washington rally in a 62-57 road victory Thursday night in a non-conference men’s basketball game at the Charles E. Smith Center.

JMU won its third straight game on the road to improve to 6-3 overall. GW dropped its sixth in a row to fall to 4-7.

For Madison, the game came down to building a nearly insurmountable lead in the second half and managing enough points in the closing minutes, seven in the final 13 and a half, to pull out the victory.

The Dukes played a dominant final nine minutes of the first half to take a 20-point advantage into the break. Despite a slower start to the second half, Madison still led 55-33 with 13 minutes to go when the Colonials turned the tide.

GW held JMU scoreless for over six minutes while using a 15-0 run to cut the margin to seven at 55-48 with 8:03 to go. David Pellom used a size advantage for eight points during the run while a pair of long jumpers by Tony Taylor, one a three-pointer, also factored into the run.

Senior forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) finally ended the GW run with a three for what proved to be the only JMU field goal of the final 13 and a half minutes of the game.

Trailing by 10 at 58-48, George Washington again held James Madison scoreless for over six minutes. However, the Dukes’ defense held strong and limited GW to a three-point play and dunk by Pellom along with an Aaron Ware free throw as the Colonials cut it to 58-54 with three minutes to go.

The Colonials had opportunities to cut the lead further but were hurt by a pair of turnovers and a pair of fouls. Following a JMU turnover, GW ran the shot clock down to two seconds on its next possession and committed a traveling violation before getting off a shot.

Madison turned it over again on the ensuing inbounds play only to see George Washington do the same on its inbounds opportunity. The Dukes then ran the shot clock down to just over a minute as junior guardA.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Christian) put up a layup. Junior forwardAndrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) rebounded the miss and was fouled, hitting one of his two attempts to make it 59-54.

Semenov actually came down with the rebound of his miss, but he missed the front end of his bonus opportunity. Davis then corralled a missed three-pointer by Taylor but also missed the front-end free throw to keep GW in the contest.

After another missed three by the Colonials, junior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) hit 1-of-2 and Davis added a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to wrap up the win as Pellom canned a late three to account for the 62-57 final margin.

Davis finished with 22 points for the Dukes while grabbing six rebounds. He posted 17 of his 22 points in the first half as JMU chalked up just 18 points as a team in the second period. Senior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) had all 17 of his points in the first half while assisting five baskets. Semenov finished with five points and a game-high nine rebounds.

The Dukes shot 29 percent from the field in the second half and hit just two of their 10 chances from the arc. That came after a dominant first half in which Madison shot 65 percent from the floor and nailed six threes on nine attempts. JMU committed nine of its 14 turnovers in the second half and was outrebounded 21-13 in the period.

Reserve David Pellom finished with 22 points, 18 in the second half, for the Colonials after hitting all nine of his field-goal attempts. Taylor posted 12 points for George Washington while Lasan Kromah added 10 points, seven boards, four assists and two blocks.

The hosts shot 41 percent for the game after 47 percent shooting in the second half. However, GW hit just three of its 12 attempts from the arc and went 8-for-17 (47 percent) at the foul line.

It was a close contest for the first 11 minutes as JMU grabbed the lead around the 13-minute mark. The Dukes held a 20-16 lead when they began their run. A dunk by Davis was followed by a three from the left wing to ignite a 10-0 run, which also included an around-the-back fast-break pass from Semenov for a Diouf dunk followed by another Davis three.

After GW was held scoreless for four and a half minutes, the Dukes used another spurt of eight straight points on threes by Hitchens and Davis followed by a fast-break lay-in by Hitchens to go up 40-20 with 3:08 to go in the half. Enoch Hood’s (Norfolk, Va./Booker T. Washington) lay-up with 38 seconds to go made it 44-24 at the break.

Hitchens and Davis had 17 points apiece for JMU while combining to hit 6-of-7 three-point attempts in the half. JMU shot 65 percent as a team for the half. GW shot 35 percent for the half and hit just 5-of-11 at the charity stripe.

Following a break for the holidays, the Dukes reconvene in Orlando next week with a Dec. 29 game against Rhode Island at 9:30 p.m. as part of the UCF Holiday Classic. JMU will then play either UCF or Stetson the next day with the winner’s game at 7 p.m. and the losing teams squaring off at 9:30 p.m.


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