JMU skid continues with 68-56 home loss to Northeastern

Jonathan Lee and Quincy Ford each had 20 points and Northeastern used a 14-2 run at the midpoint of the second half to defeat James Madison 68-56 in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.

JMU fell to 7-7 overall, 1-3 in the CAA and 2-4 at home after suffering their third straight loss and fourth in the last five games.  Northeastern improved to 6-8 overall and 2-2 in the league.

After Northeastern led 32-31 at the break, JMU grabbed the early momentum during the second half and held a modest lead for the first six minutes.  The Dukes were in front 40-39 at the 14-minute mark when the Huskies made their move.

Quincy had a pair of baskets as Northeastern reeled off 11 quick points and added a three-pointer following a jumper by JMU senior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) to complete a 14-2 run and give the Huskies an 11-point lead at 53-42.

After switching to a trapping, full-court defense, Madison made a final push by converting eight unanswered points on layups by Enoch Hood (Norfolk, Va./Booker T. Washington) and Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School), a pair of free throws by Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) and a put-back slam by A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Christian) to cut it to 53-50 with 4:22 to go.

A Lee three from the top of the arc was followed by a pair of free throws by Davis to keep the game within reach at 56-52 with 3:40 to go.  After swapping empty possessions, the Huskies found Joel Smith in the left corner for a key three-point bucket.

Trailing by seven, Davis drove to the basket but missed his layup.  A follow-up attempt by Diouf rimmed out and Hood’s attempt at a put-back slam hit the back of the iron as the Dukes came up empty.  Northeastern corralled the long rebound and turned it into a fastbreak layup by Lee to essentially clinch the victory with a 61-52 lead with 1:45 remaining en route to a 68-56 triumph.

Smith and Ford became the first combination of JMU opponents to hit 20 points since Dec. 12, 2009 in a JMU loss at Eastern Michigan.  Lee was 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 at the foul line while Ford was 8-for-11.  Each hit a pair of three-point field goals.

Hood posted the first double-double by a JMU player this season with 11 points and 10 rebounds, both career highs.  Moore added 11 points, five boards and five assists while Davis added 14 points and five boards.

Northeastern shot 50 percent from the field and 44 percent (7-for-16) from the arc.  JMU shot 40 percent from the field but hit just one of its 10 attempts from the arc.  The Dukes led the game in rebounds 31-26 for their first rebounding advantage in six games.

The Huskies claimed an early 8-2 lead after the opening tip before the Dukes responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead.  Northeastern again moved in front 18-11 before JMU responded with a 9-0 run, including dunks by Hood, Diouf and Davis.

The game remained a one-possession contest the rest of the half with neither team claiming a substantial advantage.  JMU led 29-26 before NU pushed ahead for a 32-31 lead at the break.

JMU shot 44 percent for the half, its first time over 41 percent for a half since the first half against GW Dec. 22.  Madison hit just one of its five attempts from the arc in its fewest number of attempts in a half this season.  Moore led the Dukes with seven points in the half while Ford led the Huskies with eight.

The Dukes will have a quick turnaround with a home game on Monday night at 7 p.m. against in-state foe Hampton.

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