Same ol’ song: Dukes drop one on the road at Drexel

After trailing by one at the half, Drexel blew past James Madison in the second half by a 44-26 margin to extend its winning streak to 16 in a row with a 78-61 decision in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game Wednesday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

DU won its school-record 24th game of the season (24-5) and clinched first place in the CAA at 15-2 thanks to George Mason’s overtime loss at Northeastern.  The Dragons have won 16 in a row at home and own the nation’s second-longest overall winning streak at 16 games.

JMU fell to 11-19 for the season and 4-13 in the league.  With William and Mary’s 75-71 win over Hofstra Wednesday, the Tribe moved into a tie with the Dukes for ninth place in the conference and own the tiebreaker over Madison thanks to an earlier win over Northeastern.

In the second half, Drexel shot 50 percent from the floor, outrebounded JMU 21-12 and took advantage of seven Dukes’ turnovers for a 12-0 advantage in points off turnovers.

On senior night, forward Samme Givens had 12 points in the second half to finish with a game-high 18 to go along with eight rebounds and four assists.  He became the third player in Drexel history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career and just the sixth player in CAA history to reach 1,000 rebounds.

Guard Chris Fouch added 14 points while fellow guard Frantz Massenat contributed 13 points and five assists.  Forwards Dartaye Ruffin (10 points and five rebounds) and Daryl McCoy (seven points and nine rebounds) contributed to the Dragons leading in rebounds 40-28.

Junior forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) had a team-high 17 points including going 5-for-6 from the arc, and six rebounds for JMU.  Junior center Gene Swindle (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) added a career-high 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting.  Junior guard Devon Moore (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) added seven points, six rebounds and eight assists.

Both teams were virtually even at 44 percent shooting for the game.  JMU shot 59 percent (10-for-17) from the arc but made just seven of its 14 attempts at the foul line (50 percent).  Meanwhile, Drexel shot 44 percent (7-for-16) from the arc and made 19 of its 26 shots at the stripe.

The Dragons committed just three turnovers for the game to amount to a 17-2 advantage in points off of JMU’s 10 turnovers.  DU also had a 13-0 edge in fast break points.

After JMU led 35-34 at the break, Drexel charged out of the locker room with an 11-1 run to go ahead 45-36 five minutes into the period.  JMU’s first field goal of the half came five and a half minutes in from freshman guard Arman Marks (Louisville, Ky./Eastern), who finished with nine points.

A dunk from Swindle cut the margin back to five points at 47-42 before a three by guard Derrick Thomas and a Fouch layup put the Dragons back up 54-42.

JMU responded to Drexel’s 7-0 run with a 7-0 spurt of its own as a three by junior guard A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community) made it 54-49 with 9:25 remaining.  However, the Dragons scored the next five points and a Massenat three made it 62-51 with seven minutes to go.

The Dukes never cut the deficit within single digits thereafter as the final margin of 78-61 was the largest lead of the game for the Dragons, who trailed by as many as 11 point at the midpoint of the first half.

JMU used hot shooting at the start as two treys by Semenov and another by Moore gave the Dukes a 16-7 lead at the 13-minute mark of the first half.  A four-point play on the fourth three of the half by Semenov extended the margin to 23-12.

Drexel answered quickly with a 12-0 run to take the lead at 24-23, but Madison had a quick 5-0 burst to go back up 28-24.  JMU held Drexel scoreless for the final 3:45 of the half until Fouch hit a fadeaway three at the buzzer cut the JMU lead to 35-34 at the break.

Semenov led all players with 13 at the break while Swindle added nine for the Dukes, who made 7-of-11 threes (64 percent) in the half.  Fouch led Drexel with 12, going 3-for-4 from the arc.

JMU will play its final game of the regular season at 4 p.m. on Saturday against Towson.  The Dukes need a win combined with a loss by either William and Mary or UNCW in order to play in the Friday noon game at the CAA Tournament (No. 8 vs. No. 9).  A JMU loss to Towson or wins by JMU, UNCW and W&M would put the Dukes as the No. 10 seed playing Northeastern at 6 p.m. Friday.


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