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Valparaiso runs past JMU men’s basketball, 79-52

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jmu logoJunior guard Winston Grays (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine) scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting and grabbed five rebounds, but the James Madison men’s basketball team was unable to bounce back from a 24-point halftime deficit, falling to Valparaiso, 79-52, in the non-conference finale Monday night at the JMU Convocation Center.

The Crusaders (13-2) won their fifth straight game and 12th of 13 in wire-to-wire fashion after Alec Peters posted a double-double with game highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Two other Valpo players had double-figure scoring in Keith Carter and Tevonn Walker, who produced 13 and 12 points, respectively. Darien Walker led the game with seven assists while Vashil Fernandez was a force defensively, making seven rebounds and four blocks.

Grays represented the only JMU player in double figures, as the Crusaders held the Dukes (7-6) to 23.6 percent (13-55) shooting, a program-record low for Madison, and outrebounded the Dukes 48-38. Sophomore guard Jackson Kent (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian) tallied eight points to go with five rebounds and a team-high four assists, while junior guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) scored six points and also pulled down five rebounds.

The Crusaders shot 51.9 percent (14-27) in the first half and held the Dukes to just 17.9 percent (5-28) to gain the momentum early, taking a double-digit lead for good a little less than 12 minutes into the game. VU put together a 9-0 run to grab a 13-2 advantage a little more than seven minutes in, holding the Dukes scoreless for 5:21. Ahead 22-12, the Crusaders used a 15-1 run to make it 37-13 and JMU would only make one field goal in the final seven minutes to trail 40-16 at halftime.

The second half was improved for JMU in most aspects but JMU never drew closer than 23 as the Crusaders led by as many as 33 points late in regulation.

The Dukes will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 3, when they kick off the Colonial Athletic Association portion of their 2014-15 slate with a home game against Towson at 4 p.m.

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