JMU pulls away from ODU, 56-46

jmu logoThree freshmen guards combined for 32 points as James Madison pulled away from a halftime tie to defeat Old Dominion 56-46 in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.

JMU (11-10, 5-3 CAA) won its fifth straight home game and swept the season series against ODU (2-17, 0-7 CAA) for just the third time.  The others came in 2000 and 1982.  The Dukes improved to 7-2 at home, including 4-0 in the CAA.

Freshman guard Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian) led all players with 14 points along with a career-high eight rebounds.  Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) added 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.  Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) came off the bench to hit a pair of second-half threes to complete the 32-point effort from the freshmen.

Following a 21-21 halftime tie, the Dukes led for much of the early part of the second half but couldn’t find significant separation. With the score tied at 37-37, JMU finally pulled away with 15 of the game’s next 19 points to grab a 52-41 advantage with four minutes to go.

A layup and a pair of free throws by Curry ignited the run, and a three-pointer from the left corner by Cooke with the shot clock expiring built the momentum further for a six-point lead. A layup and two free throws by senior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) pushed the advantage to eight before a layup by Curry and two free throws by Nation gave JMU the 11-point lead, the largest of the game to that point.

Moore finished with 10 points to give Madison three players in double figures.  After struggling early by shooting 20 percent in the early portion of the game and 33 percent in the first half, the Dukes got things going on offense in the second half, shooting 11-for-22 (50 percent) to finish the game at 40.8 percent.

Guard Keenan Palmore led ODU with 13 points while guard Aaron Bacote added 10 points and five rebounds.  Forward DeShawn Painter had nine points and a team-high nine rebounds.  Fellow forward Richard Ross added nine points, five rebounds, four blocks and two steals.

ODU entered the game second in the CAA with a plus-five rebounding margin, but JMU (-2.4 entering the day) led the battle for rebounds, 40-34. In their last three home games, the Dukes are a combined +32 on the boards against teams that rank second, third and fourth in the CAA in rebounding margin.

JMU hit 10-of-11 free throws in the second half to finish 13-for-17 (76.5 percent) for the game.  ODU was 32 percent from the floor and 2-for-14 (14.3 percent) from the arc.  The Monarchs went 12-for-22 (54.5) percent at the charity stripe, including 4-for-10 in the first period.

In a slow-action first half, ODU used an early 9-0 run to grab an advantage of 11-5 as the Dukes struggled from the field for much of the half, hitting just two of their first 10 attempts.  JMU was scoreless for two separate spans of over four minutes.

The Dukes finally got a push late in the half.  ODU held a slight margin most of the half until the final seconds.  Moore hit a long jumper with 5.6 seconds remaining.  ODU then threw away the inbounds pass to give senior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community School) a chance for a layup to tie at the buzzer, making it 21-21.

Both teams were 33 percent from the field in the half and combined to go 1-for-10 from the arc.  Ross led the Monarchs with seven points while Nation had six to top the Dukes.

JMU will next play its lone road contest during the current six-game stretch with a 7 p.m. game on Monday at UNCW.

Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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