ODU rips Dukes, 75-59

Forward Frank Hassell and guard Kent Bazemore combined for 40 points as Old Dominion took down James Madison 75-59 in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Thursday night at the JMU Convocation Center.

ODU improved to 23-6 overall and 13-4 in the CAA, sweeping the head-to-head series for the season. JMU fell to 20-10 overall and 9-8 in the league. The Dukes dropped to sixth place in the CAA standings and will hold that spot in the CAA Championship unless they win at VCU Saturday and Drexel falls at winless Towson.

Hassell posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 9-of-12 field goals. Bazemore added 19 points, three assists and three steals while hitting 6-of-8 field goals. Darius James added 11 points and six assists.

Senior forward Denzel Bowles (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) had 14 points, hitting 7-of-8 field-goal attempts, and five boards in his final regular-season home game. His five rebounds made him the 11th player in JMU history to reach 1,000 points (1,070) and 500 rebounds, having played 40 fewer games than anyone else on the list. Sophomore guard Devon Moore (Columbus, S.C./Northland) added 10 points and five assists.

ODU shot 54% in the second half, including 5-of-9 from the arc, and hit all 11 free-throw attempts. The nation’s top-rated team for rebounding margin also led the Dukes on the boards 30-23.

The Monarchs held a 21-8 advantage in points off turnovers, forcing 13 by JMU compared to just six of their own. Perhaps no turnover was bigger than the end of the first half when Bazemore stole JMU’s inbounds pass with 3.2 seconds left and drained a three-point field goal for a 29-25 lead and momentum going into the break.

ODU still led by three two minutes into the second half when it went on a 10-2 run to begin to pull away, going up 44-33 with 15 minutes to go.

After a layup by sophomore forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School), the Dukes had a chance to cut margin back down to six. However, a wide-open three-point attempt by junior forward Julius Wells (Toledo, Ohio/Libbey) bounced off the rim, and Hassell countered quickly with a three-point play. A JMU turnover then led to a Hassell dunk to put the Monarchs up by 14.

The Dukes never got any closer than 12 points until two minutes remained. The Monarchs led by as much as 21 at 64-43 with 6:42 remaining and cruised to the 75-59 victory.

In addition to turnovers, JMU was done in by its struggles from the arc. The Dukes shot 35% for the game thanks to hitting four of their final six attempts in the last seven minutes when they already trailed by 18. Prior to that, JMU was 2-for-11 (18%) from long distance. Despite that, JMU still managed to shoot 50% from the field in both halves and 53% for the game.

JMU used an 8-0 run in the first half to pull away from a 9-9 tie only to see ODU respond with a 13-0 run to go up 22-17 with five minutes to go. The Monarchs were up five at 26-21 in the closing minutes when the Dukes got a post move by Semenov and a dunk by Bowles off a steal by Hitchens.

The Dukes had a chance to take the lead at the half with an inbounds play with 3.2 seconds to go. However, Semenov’s pass to Moore was off as Bazemore stole the pass and hit a three-pointer for a 29-25 lead at the break.

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