JMU men’s basketball blows by Drexel, 54-35

jmu logoJames Madison overcame a slow start and completely shut down Drexel’s offense, allowing the third-lowest point total in program history in a 54-35 Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball win on Wednesdaynight at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

The Dukes (10-8, 3-2 CAA) picked up only their second win ever at “The DAC” in team history after allowing only 35 points, a program best during the shot-clock era, in what was the first sub-40 point game since giving up 39 points to Morgan State on Dec. 9, 1985. The 19-point triumph was the second-largest road win of the year (72-52 at Ball State) and the most lopsided CAA road victory since beating American, 85-65, back on Feb. 22, 1992.

Sophomore forward Yohanny Dalembert (Port-au-Prince, Haiti/Lower Merion (Pa.) racked up a game-high 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting while grabbing five rebounds, a career-high three steals and two blocks. Junior guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) scored all of his 12 points in the second half while junior guard Winston Grays (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine (Cincinnati State)) added 11 points in his first start in six games.

JMU shot 57.9 percent (11-19) in the second half to finish at 46.2 percent (18-39) for the game. The Dukes dominated the glass 39-28 and outscored the Dragons 26-14 in the paint. The Dragons were held to just 24 percent (12-50) shooting after a mediocre 16 percent (4-25) performance over the first 20 minutes, failing to make a shot for a span of 15:32.

It was JMU’s best shooting percentage defense and the least amount of made shots allowed in 27 years when the Dukes held Radford to 21.4 percent on 9-of-42 shooting in a 73-56 win on Jan. 4, 1988.

DU was led by Damion Lee, who scored 14 points, but the CAA’s leading scorer was held to nearly seven points under his season average (20.8) after making just 5-of-12 from the floor. He did, however, knock down 3-of-6 from beyond the arc to lead all players. No other Dragon was able to score in double figures as Tavon Allen had nine points while Rashann London added eight in the loss.

The Dragons opened the game on a 9-0 run on 4-of-6 shooting, capped off by back-to-back buckets by Lee, as they kept the Dukes off the scoreboard for 5:22, forcing six early turnovers. After the fast start, DU’s offense went stagnant, missing its last 19 shots to end the half and converting just three free throws in the last 15:03.

The Dukes offense slowly chipped away at the deficit and took their first lead at 13-11 with 5:19 left on a traditional 3-point play by freshman guard Joey McLean (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian). The Dukes kept Drexel from scoring a point for nearly six-and-a-half minutes until a free throw by Sammy Mojica made it 17-12 heading to halftime. It was the first time since the 2013 CAA Championship game on March 11, 2013, that the Dukes held their foe to under 20 points in a single half, allowing just 18 to Northeastern en route to the tournament title.

The Dragons opened the second half with an Allen jumper 29 seconds in to end the field-goal drought, cutting JMU’s lead to 17-14, but that would be as close as DU would get the rest of the way as Grays knocked down the first of JMU’s five 3-pointers during the ensuing possession.

Leading 22-17, Dalembert free throws began a 7-0 run, five coming from JMU’s leading scorer, to put the Dukes ahead 29-17 with 14:47 left. Allen made a layup seconds later but McLean hit a trey and Curry went air born for a slam dunk off a steal to put Madison up 15 at 34-19. Drexel never came closer than 14 the rest of the night.

JMU returns to action Saturday night back at home when it hosts Elon at 8 p.m. at the JMU Convocation Center in a televised game live on the American Sports Network. It will also be tape delayed on Comcast SportsNet at 11:30 p.m.

For individual ticket sales, click here. Fans who are unable to attend can also watch the game live on MadiZONE HD SportsNet, presented by the JMU Alumni Association, or listen on the JMU/nTelos Wireless Broadcast Network or on the local airwaves at WSVA 550 AM and 92.1 FM. Saturday’s game will be sponsored by Wells Fargo. For a full listing of promotions all season long, click here.

POST-GAME NOTES:

  • JMU allowed the third-lowest point total in school history tonight, the second-best against a Division I opponent and the program best during the shot-clock era and as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
  • It was the largest CAA road win since an 85-65 victory at American on Feb. 22, 1992.
  • Tonight marked the first time since Dec. 9, 1985, that JMU allowed less than 40 points, giving up 39 to Morgan State 29 seasons ago.
  • Drexel’s 24 percent (12-50) shooting was JMU’s best shooting percentage defense and field goals allowed in 27 years when Radford shot 21.4 percent on 9-of-42 shooting on Jan. 4, 1988.
  • JMU trailed 9-0 and was held off the scoreboard for 5:22 but did not allow DU to make another field goal for 15:32, outscoring the Dragons 17-3 during that period.

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