Make it eight: JMU takes down Georgia State
Redshirt sophomore forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) led five Dukes in double figures with 16 points as James Madison won its eighth in a row with a 79-67 decision over Georgia State in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game on Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
JMU improved to 14-3 overall and 4-1 in the CAA. The Dukes maintained a tie with the 1981-82 team for the best start in school history and registered their longest winning streak since eight in a row in the 1992-93 campaign. JMU also improved to 8-0 at home for the fourth time. GSU dropped to 8-7 overall and 3-2 in the league.
Semenov scored 13 of his 16 in the second half while hitting 4-of-5 field-goal attempts and 7-of-8 free throws. He matched career highs of three blocks and three steals. Senior Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) posted his eighth double-double, 20th career, with 12 points and 11 boards to go with a season-high five assists and two blocks.
JMU also got 13 points apiece from junior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) and sophomore guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland). Junior forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) chipped in with 11 points, including three key second half treys.
Javonte Maynor led the Panthers with 14 points while hitting four of his six three-point attempts. Marques Johnson added 12 points, five boards, and four assists while Eric Buckner posted 11 points.
The Dukes led by nine at the break and held a 34-26 lead three minutes into the second half when JMU embarked on a key 16-5 run to pull. Back-to-back Wells three-pointers ignited the run, which resulted in a 50-31 JMU lead with 10 minutes to go.
Georgia State cut it to a 10-point game at 57-47 with 6:30 left after a 16-7 run of its own. However, a quick 9-2 response by the Dukes made it a 17-point game again and JMU hit free throws down the stretch to finish the 12-point victory.
JMU, which never trailed in the game, shot 59% as a team, including 64% in the second half. The Dukes also shot 62.5% (10-of-16) from the arc, the best since also hitting 10-of-16 on Dec. 18, 2008 at Morehead State. JMU reached double-digit threes for the fourth straight game.
GSU shot 35.8% from the floor, the seventh JMU opponent in the last nine games to be held under 40%. The Panthers hit 7-of-18 three-pointers (38.9%).
JMU jumped out to a quick 23-8 lead just eight minutes into the ballgame before the Dukes went cold, failing to score over the next 5:30. However, GSU had only four points of its own over that stretch. The Panthers cut it to as close as seven points at 30-23 before the Dukes took a 32-23 lead into the break, scoring only nine points in the final 12 minutes of the half.
Despite the scoreless stretches, JMU still shot 52.6% in the half (10-19) while limiting GSU to 29% overall, 12.5% (1-8) from the arc. Bowles, Hitchens, and Moore each had eight in the half for the Dukes with Bowles adding nine boards.