JMU wins return matchup with Marshall

Senior forward Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) poured in a season-high 34 points to lead James Madison past Marshall 80-73 in a non-conference men’s basketball game on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.

JMU won its second in a row to improve to 9-3 on the season. Marshall fell to 8-3 with the loss. The Thundering Herd had won an earlier meeting between the teams on Dec. 7 in Huntington, W.Va. by a score of 67-63.

Bowles hit for 17 points in each half while hitting 13 of his 21 field-goal attempts, making 8-of-10 free throws, and pulling 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double. He surpassed 30 points for the fourth time in his JMU career and came three points shy of his career high.

Sophomore forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) posted his first career double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a career-best three blocks. Sophomore guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) added 10 points and four assists.

The Dukes continued their defensive progression on the season by holding Marshall to 35.6 percent shooting for the game, the fourth straight JMU opponent held under 40 percent. JMU also led in rebounds 44-30 against one of the nation’s top-50 rebounding teams. The Herd was outrebounded for just the fourth time with the 14-rebound margin an opponent season high and the 44 JMU rebounds also an opponent best.

Marshall led for the first 16 minutes of the game and by as much as seven points. The Herd was up 26-23 with four minutes left when JMU senior guard Ben Louis (Melbourne, Australia/St. Francis Xavier) ignited the key run of the game.

Louis came in to replace an injured Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) and connected on JMU’s first three of the game for the first tie of the game since the tip at 26-26. On the next possession, Louis found an open Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) for another three for the first lead. Two field goals by Bowles made it a quick 10-point swing for a 33-26 Dukes’ lead with two minutes to go. JMU took that seven-point margin into the break at 37-30.

In the second half, a Marshall layup cut it to a five-point margin but a three-point play by Bowles, a dunk by Bowles, and a pair of free throws by Wells made it a 12-point advantage. JMU went on to lead by as much as 15 at 56-41 with 10 minutes remaining. Marshall got no closer than a seven-point margin with one minute remaining as JMU recorded the 80-73 win.

The Herd put four players in double figures for the second time against JMU, led by DeAndre Kane with 19 points, four boards, three assists, and three steals. Johnny Thomas poured in 16 points while Damier Pitts, who was not eligible in the Dec. 7 game, and Tirrel Baines added 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Marshall’s three tallest players, Nigel Spikes, Orlando Allen, and Aundra Williams, each 6-10 in height, battled foul difficulties the entire game, combining for 14 fouls while being limited to a combined two points and seven rebounds.

JMU shot 47 percent for the game, including 55 percent in the first half. The Dukes hit 3-of-7 three-pointers (43 percent). Marshall shot 36 percent from the floor and 38 percent from the arc (8-of-21). The whistle-filled contest saw a total of 58 personal fouls and a combined 71 free-throw attempts. JMU hit 72 percent from the line (31-of-43) while Marshall connected on 82 percent (23-of-28).

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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