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Junior guard Jamie Harris scored 16 of his game-high 20 points while host Drexel controlled play for most of the final half in a 78-57 victory over James Madison in men’s Colonial Athletic Association basketball Wednesday.
JMU expanded a 29-27 halftime lead to 34-29 by the 17:40 mark of the second half, but hot-shooting Drexel took charge with a 14-2 scoring burst and stayed comfortably in front the rest of the way.
JMU with the loss fell to 8-10 overall and to 2-6 in the CAA. Drexel is 10-10 overall and 5-3 in the CAA.
Drexel during the final half shot 61.3 percent (19-31) overall and hit on eight of 11 shots from three-point range. The Dragons for the game had a 47-25 rebounding edge and took advantage of 14 offensive rebounds. JMU for the game shot 42.0 percent (21-50) overall, 15.4 percent (2-13) on three-point tries and 48.1 percent (13-27) from the foul line.
Harris started Drexel’s key 14-2 scoring run with a three-point field goal, added a two-pointer for a 38-34 Dragon lead and capped the burst with a three-pointer with 14:05 remaining for a 43-36 Drexel edge.
After Drexel had leads of 54-40 and 58-44, JMU cut the margin to 60-50 only to see Harris score eight straight points to give the Dragons a 68-50 margin with 5:56 to play. He had three-pointers at 7:14 and 6:21 and a two-point field goal to cap the surge.
Harris for the game hit on eight of 12 shots, including four of five attempts from three-point range. He also had five assists and two rebounds in 33 minutes.
Drexel had hit on only 10 of 26 shots overall and but one of five attempts from three-point range during the opening half. The Dragons entered the game shooting 40.2 percent overall from the field and 29.6 percent on three-point tries. Harris had had 15 three-pointers during Drexel’s first 19 games.
JMU overcame an early 11-4 deficit to lead 12-11 and didn’t trail after taking a 13-12 lead until Drexel put together its 14-2 early second-half burst.
Junior forward Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) and sophomore forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) were JMU’s only double-figure scorers with 19 and 11 points, respectively. Bowles hit on eight of 12 shots and had four rebounds and three blocked shots in 33 minutes. Wells added five rebounds, three assists and a career-high five steals in 36 minutes.
JMU is back in action Saturday (Jan. 23) in an 8 p.m. game at CAA foe North Carolina Wilmington. Saturday’s game will be televised by the Middle Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).