Northeastern uses strong first half to down JMU men’s basketball, 82-59

jmu logoNortheastern shot the lights out in the first half and James Madison was not able to recover from the slow start, dropping an 82-59 Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball decision on Thursday night at historic Matthews Arena.

The Huskies (14-6, 6-1 CAA) couldn’t miss from long range in the first half, going 8-for-13 from beyond the arc, to build a lead greater than 20 points in the opening stanza.

Junior guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) led the Dukes (11-9, 4-3 CAA) with a season-high 21 points after converting a career-best five 3-pointers in the defeat. He shot 8-for-12 for the game and was flawless from range, making all five of his trey attempts.

JMU shot 44 percent (22-50) from the floor and 41.2 percent (7-17) from deep. NU finished at 52.5 percent (31-59) for the game and 52.9 percent (9-17) from 3-point land to take sole possession of first place in the CAA standings. The Huskies won the rebounding war 34-27 and seized the opportunity off turnovers, outscoring the Dukes 19-6 off giveaways.

NU was paced by T.J. Williams, who scored a team-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Two others scored in double figures, as David Walker tallied 15 points after making three triples and Reggie Spencer had 13 points off the bench.

Aside from Curry’s season high, only one other JMU player scored in double figures in sophomore forward Yohanny Dalembert (Port-au-Prince, Haiti/Lower Merion (Pa.)). The CAA’s leader in field goal percentage finished with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting, while adding a game-high seven rebounds. Freshman guard Joey McLean (Greensboro, N.C./High Point Christian) was solid in a reserve role, accruing eight points on 3-of-6 from the field.

Northeastern stormed out of the gates, taking an early 19-4 lead just past the seven-minute mark. The Huskies shot 7-for-12 during the opening stretch while limiting the Dukes to just 2-for-8. NU continued to grow its lead, scoring six straight points over 45 seconds to go up 25-6 with 10:48 remaining in the first.

Trailing 40-19, the Dukes scored seven in a row, five coming from Curry, but the Huskies answered with back-to-back treys from Walker to put the hosts ahead 46-26 with a couple minutes left in the half. They would take a 49-32 lead into halftime.

JMU never mustered a run in the second half as the deficit was never smaller than 17 and Northeastern led by as many as 28 midway through the frame. It was the most points JMU surrendered this season and the third loss by over 20 points on the year.

JMU returns to action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. when it travels down to Hempstead, N.Y., to take on Hofstra at the Mack Sports Complex.

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