JMU men's basketball snaps losing skid

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- James Madison forced 21 turnovers and four JMU players scored in double figures on Saturday afternoon as the Dukes sprinted to an 83-66 victory over UNCW in Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball at the Convocation Center.

James Madison guard DeShon Parker rises up for a layup during a win over UNCW.

Junior forward Matt Lewis led the way for the Dukes (9-13, 2-9 CAA) as they snapped a seven-game losing streak, racking up 21 points--including 19 in the second half--on an efficient 7-of-12 night from the field, while adding five boards, four assists and three steals.

Junior forward Dwight Wilson notched his ninth double-double of the year with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while freshman Julien Wooden added 11 points and matched his career high with six boards. Junior guard Darius Banks added 13 points of his own, including the 1,000th of his career as he became the 33rd player in JMU history to clear that mark.

Led by Wilson's six offensive rebounds, JMU did a great job crashing the offensive glass, pulling down 13 boards that resulted in 18 second chance points.

JMU forced 21 UNC-Wilmington turnovers while committing just seven themselves in Saturday's game. The Dukes turned those takeaways into 22 points on the offensive end of the floor. Banks and sophomore Deshon Parker each grabbed four steals to lead the way for JMU.

Junior Mike Okauru paced UNCW with 22 points and seven rebounds on the afternoon.

The Dukes sprinted out to a 22-6 advantage within the first seven minutes, hitting nine of their first 15 shots along the way. UNCW immediately responded to cut the lead to seven, but JMU would build the lead back to 40-26 at the break. JMU did most of its first half damage in the paint, scoring 22 of its 40 points close to the basket.

Lewis powered a JMU surge out of halftime as well, drilling back-to-back threes to open the second period and kick-start a 10-1 run that pushed the advantage to 50-27. The Seahawks would cut the lead to as few as 13 with 10:13 to play, but would get no closer as JMU saw out the victory.

"I thought the first half on Thursday, we did a good job with the game plan. Today, we really focused on the game plan and had attention to detail and energy for a full game. Trying to bottle that energy has been difficult, but we talked about that. I'm proud of the way we did it for a full game today."

- The Dukes' 15 steals were their most against a Division I opponent since racking up 15 in a 70-45 win over East Tennessee State on Dec. 5, 2012.
- In addition to scoring his 1,000th career point, junior Darius Banks racked up four steals to give him 135 in his career, moving him into fifth all-time at JMU. Derek Steele (136 | 1980-84) and Eric Brent (137 | 1983-87) sit directly ahead in fourth and third, respectively, while Pierre Curtis (2006-10) holds the JMU record with 175.
- With his fourth straight game with 20+ points, junior Matt Lewis is up to 1,417 career points at JMU, moving him past Julius Wells (1,414 | 2008-12) and into ninth all-time. Juwann James (2005-09) sits in eighth at 1,456 points.
- Freshman Quinn Richey continued providing quality minutes, hitting a three and adding a career-high two assists on Saturday afternoon.
- With four steals on Saturday, sophomore Deshon Parker now has 12 in his last four games, giving him 26 on the year, just nine shy of his 2018-19 total.

The Dukes will hit the road next weekend, travelling north to open the weekend with a 7 p.m. matchup at Drexel on Thursday, Feb. 6. On Thursday afternoon, the Dragons dropped an 80-72 decision at Delaware to fall to 12-11 (5-5 CAA) on the season.