ODU knocks off JMU, snaps Dukes' streak
Old Dominion had an answer for every James Madison run and took advantage of free throws, rebounding, and fast-break transitions to record a 64-58 victory in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Wednesday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
ODU won for the fifth time in its last six conference games to improve to 5-2 in the CAA and 14-4 overall. JMU, which received votes in this week’s AP and Coaches Polls, fell to 15-4 overall and 5-2 in the league and a tie for first place in the CAA standings. The Dukes saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end, a streak that ranked as the program’s best since 1991-92. Despite the loss, JMU still holds its second-best 19-game record in program history behind the 1981-82 squad.
Frank Hassell led ODU with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds while recording his 1,000th career point. Kent Bazemore also had 15 points while Ben Finney added 12.
The Monarchs took advantage of a 22-5 margin in made free throws, including 10 of their 12 points down the stretch. The only field goal for ODU in the final six minutes came on a dunk before the buzzer.
The hosts also held a distinct edge on the boards at 39-31 and ran the floor for a 13-2 margin in fastbreak points.
Senior forward Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) narrowly missed a double-double in his homecoming with 20 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Junior guard Humpty Hitchens (Chillicothe, Ohio/Chillicothe) made four three-pointers for 12 points. Junior forward Rayshawn Goins (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) added 10 points and seven boards.
Shooting in the game was close with ODU hitting 40% from the floor and 33% (4-12) from the arc. JMU shot 39% from the field and 39% from the arc (7-18), but the free throws proved to be the difference with the Monarchs hitting 22-of-29 and the Dukes converting 5-of-8.
ODU led for all but 43 seconds of the first half, however JMU was able to answer every run by the hosts. Trailing 56-50, sophomore guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) hit a runner with 2:38 remaining.
On the next possession, Bazemore was whistled for a backcourt violation when he grabbed a loose ball near the half court line and stepped backwards. Bowles then tipped in Moore’s missed runner to cut it to 56-54 at 1:36 to go.
Bowles then tipped away an entry pass and junior Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) gathered the loose ball to give JMU a chance to tie or take the lead. However, sophomore forward Andrey Semenov’s (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) drive into the paint was missed and Bazemore then hit two free throws to extend the lead back to four with 48 seconds left.
The Dukes still had a chance on the next possession as Hitchens was fouled on a runner in the paint and was initially credited with a basket on a goaltending call. However, the foul was determined to be before the whistle and the ensuing inbounds play resulted in a missed three by Hitchens.
ODU then put the game away down on free throws and Hassell’s late dunk for the 64-58 score.
Bowles was particularly effective in the second half, hitting 5-of-7 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws for 14 points after tallying six in the first half.