newsstreaking jmu tops drexel 82 78 in second place tie in caa
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Streaking JMU tops Drexel, 82-78, in second-place tie in CAA

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jmu logoJames Madison shot a remarkable 15-for-18 (83.3%) from the field in the second half to hold off a furious Drexel charge, earning a pivotal 82-78 Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball win Wednesday night at the JMU Convocation Center.

The triumph, the fourth in as many contests, lifted the Dukes to 17-11 on the season, including a 10-5 mark in the CAA, which tied them for second place following Northeastern’s 75-64 win over William and Mary in Boston. JMU also clinched a top-six finish in the conference, earning a bye into Saturday’s quarterfinals at next month’s CAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

Junior guard Ron Curry scored 25 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including a 13-for-16 performance from the free throw line, to lead four Dukes in double figures in the wire-to-wire victory. Sophomore forward Tom Vodanovich and redshirt sophomore forward Dimitrije Cabarkapa both poured in career-highs, scoring 18 and 12 points, respectively, while sophomore forward Yohanny Dalembert added 10 on 3-for-4 shooting.

The Dukes outrebounded Drexel 36-23 for the game, led by junior guard Winston Grays, who pulled down a game-high eight, which tied his single-game career best, while Vodanovich grabbed seven boards. Madison outscored DU 30-18 in the paint in a game which it led for more than 36 minutes.

The Dragons (10-16, 8-7 CAA) were led by the CAA’s leading scorer, Damion Lee, who scored a game-best 26 points, 18 in the second half, on 8-for-15 shooting. He also tied the team lead with six rebounds. Freddie Wilson tallied 16 points off the bench while Rashann London and Sammy Mojica contributed 13 and 11, respectively.

The Dukes shot 57.1 percent (24-42) from the floor as a team, while holding the Dragons to 43.1 percent (25-58). JMU also tied its season-best 3-point shooting night, hitting 61.5 percent (8-13) from beyond the arc, while cashing in on 78.8 percent (26-33) of its free throws, which was the most made from the stripe during CAA play.

DU also hit a season-best 14 treys on the night, finishing at 46.7 percent (14-30) from range, and was 82.4 percent (14-17) from the line in the defeat. The Dragons turned the ball over just six times, all of which occurred in the first half.

Leading by just four early on, the Dukes scored seven in a row, four coming off Curry free throws and three more off a 3-pointer by freshman guard Joey McLean, to snag a 19-8 lead at the midway point of the first half. Drexel cut it back to a single possession at 21-18 just two minutes later but the Dukes never let go of the lead, taking a 33-29 lead into the break.

Both squads heated up in the second half, as the Dukes made 12 of their first 13 shots and the Dragons made six of eight to open the latter 20. Teams went bucket-for-bucket for nearly seven minutes but with the Dukes leading 53-51, Curry scored five quick points to give them a 58-51 lead with 10:42 to play. Later in the half and up six, the Dukes chipped in nine of the game’s next 12 points to take the largest lead of the night at 74-62 with 2:29 to go.

Drexel fought back, hitting five of its 14 treys in the closing 2:21 to force JMU to make its free throws. Trailing 78-69, Wilson knocked down a trey and Lee provided one of his own after Grays made just one of two from the line, to make it 79-75 with 28 second to play. Vodanovich provided two free throws and after Lee hit another three, Curry added one more from the stripe with 19 seconds on the clock for the final score.

JMU will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 21, when they welcome College of Charleston to the Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. contest. That game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet, with Al Koken and Charlie Woollum on the call.

Click here to purchase individual ticket to the game. Fans who are unable to attend can also watch the game live on MadiZONE HD SportsNet, presented by the JMU Alumni Association, or listen on the JMU/nTelos Wireless Broadcast Network or on the local airwaves at WSVA 550 AM and 92.1 FM. Wednesday’s game will be sponsored by United Bank. For a full listing of promotions all season long, click here.

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