Junior guard Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Plant City) scored a game-high 15 points in his return for the James Madison men’s basketball team but 16th-ranked Ohio State used a balanced attack to earn a 73-56 victory in the Buckeye Classic on Friday afternoon at Value City Arena.
Nation scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half to lead three Dukes (4-2) in double figures as sophomore forward Yohanny Dalembert(Port-au-Prince, Haiti/Lower Merion (Pa.)) produced 14 points and eight rebounds on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting, while junior guard Winston Grays (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine (Cincinnati State)) added 10 points and a career-best eight boards. Junior guard Ron Curry(Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) also chipped in eight points and a team-high five assists.
The Buckeyes (5-0) were paced by D’Angelo Russell and Sam Thompson, who provided 14 and 13 points, respectively, and six other OSU players scored between six and eight points to aid in them ending JMU’s four-game win streak.
OSU shot 41 percent (26-63) from the floor, as opposed to JMU’s 39 percent (22-56) and both teams struggled from outside with the Buckeyes shooting 33 percent (6-18) and the Dukes 19 percent (4-21) from beyond the arc. The Dukes did, however, make defensive adjustments from the perimer at halftime, not allowing OSU to make one more trey in the second half. Ohio State held a 43-36 rebounding advantage, including a 21-15 lead on the offensive glass as both squads combined for 45 second-chance points.
The Buckeyes jumped out to an early-double digit advantage, opening the game with five made 3-pointers, for a 19-5 lead just over six minutes in. OSU maintained the lead around that margin until late in the first half. Trailing 33-17, a Dalembert layup with 4:14 to go sparked the JMU offense and it ended the stanza with a 10-4 run to trail 37-27 at the break.
Ohio State got to the free-throw line early in the second half and grew its lead to 49-31 after opening the second half with a 12-4 run spanning 2:46. Leading 52-37, six quick points pushed the lead to 21 just past the halfway point of the second. The Buckeyes led by as many as 23 points and the Dukes never drew closer than 16 points on three separate occasions down the stretch.
Madison returns to action Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. when it hosts Campbell in the final game of the Buckeye Classic at the JMU Convocation Center.
For season ticket and individual ticket sales, click here. Fans who are unable to attend can watch the game live on MadiZONE HD SportsNet, presented by the JMU Alumni Association, or listen on the JMU/nTelos Wireless Broadcast Network. Monday’s game will be sponsored by Copper Beech. For a full listing of promotions all season long, click here.