Guard Frantz Massenat scored 16 points while forward Samme Givens added 14 points and 13 rebounds to pace Drexel past James Madison 63-56 in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Wednesday night at the JMU Convocation Center.
Drexel improved to 20-5 overall for its second straight 20-win season and remained in a three-way tie for first place in the CAA at 12-2. The Dragons won their 12th game in a row after entering the night with the nation’s fifth-longest winning streak and also won for the 18th time in 19 games. JMU fell to 10-16 with its fifth straight loss and dropped to 3-12 in the conference.
The Dragons were methodical and efficient in the second half and used a 13-2 run over a five-minute stretch of the half to take control and go up by as many as 16 at 53-37 with just under nine minutes remaining. Drexel shot 50 percent from the floor for the half after a 32 percent mark in the opening half. The Dragons were 3-for-5 from the arc in the half and 12-for-14 at the foul line.
One of the two missed free throws in the second half came from Massenat, which snapped his streak of 34 consecutive made free throws, a school record he tied in the first half. He finished with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting with three steals while playing all 40 minutes.
Givens collected his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 boards. Freshman guard Damion Lee contributed 12 points for the Dragons, who finished shooting 40 percent for the game.
Junior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community) eclipsed the 10-point mark for the 14th straight game and led the Dukes with 13 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) added 11 points. Freshman forward Enoch Hood (Norfolk, Va./Booker T. Washington) chipped in nine points and six rebounds while junior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) added nine points and three assists.
Drexel entered the night leading the nation in three-point percentage defense and allowed opponents just 3.7 made three-pointers per game. However, the Dukes proceeded to hit 9-of-22 (41 percent) while connecting on their fourth shot from the arc within the first 14 minutes of the game.
The Dukes actually held a slight lead in overall field goal percentage for the game but were outrebounded 35-28, were outscored in the paint 28-14 and committed 15 turnovers.
It was a one-possession game at the half with Drexel ahead 26-24. The Dukes briefly tied the score at 28-28 before the Dragons began to slowly pull away. The lead stood at five at 40-35 with 13:46 to go when Drexel embarked on its 13-3 game-clinching run, ending with a 53-37 lead with 8:47 on the clock.
JMU tried to fight back as a three by Hitchens and dunk by Hood made it 57-47 with six minutes to go. Altogether, the Dukes held Drexel off the board for over three and a half minutes as a Moore three made it 57-50, but JMU had three empty possessions of its own during that stretch. The seven-point margin proved to be as close as the Dukes could get as Drexel won 63-56.
The game started with a pair of swings as the Dukes scored the first eight points of the game only to see Drexel respond with the next 11 while holding JMU scoreless for over five minutes. The teams exchanged leads until the Dragons pulled up by as many as six at 26-20 late in the half.
Hitchens connected on the Dukes’ fifth three of the half to cut the margin in half and Hood hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it a 26-24 score at the break. Davis led all players with nine points in the half. Massenat had eight for Drexel.
JMU travels to Towson on Saturday for a noon CAA game to be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.
NOTES: Drexel snapped a three-game losing skid against JMU and improved to 15-4 all-time against the Dukes… JMU is averaging 9.8 made three-point field goals over its last five games… nine made threes by the Dukes matched the most allowed by Drexel this season.