HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- Junior Matt Lewis racked up 24 points on Saturday afternoon, but James Madison dropped a hard-fought 78-71 decision to Drexel in Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball action at the Convocation Center.
JMU men's basketball tops East Carolina 99-89 at the Convocation Center on Saturday.
Lewis added three assists and two steals to his performance to lead three Dukes (8-9, 1-5) in double figures, as junior Darius Banks added 13 points and freshman Michael Christmas chipped in 12 points and six boards.
The Dukes held Drexel (10-8, 3-2 CAA) to just 45% (27-of-60) shooting, but hit just 21 of their own 59 shots (35.6%) from the field as the Dragons held off multiple charges.
Sophomore guard Camren Wynter racked up 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Dragons on the afternoon.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Dukes never led or trailed by double digits as the teams kept things close throughout the contest. After falling behind by seven with 3:08 to play in the first half, the Dukes used seven straight points to knot things at 38-38 before a buzzer-beating Drexel tip-in gave the Dragons an advantage at the break.
After halftime, Drexel stormed out to a 53-44 lead in just 5:13 of game time. JMU would chip away for much of the second half, closing to a 65-63 deficit on a jumper from Lewis with 2:50 to play, but the Dukes would get no closer as Drexel went 11-of-12 from the free throw line in the final 2:19 to close things out.
QUOTING COACH ROWE
"This one felt like it was there for us and we didn't execute at a handful of crucial moments. Credit to Drexel for making those plays - we need to find a way to do the same as we go back on the road to play some really good teams."
- Junior Matt Lewis jumped into 14th on JMU's all-time scoring list, passing David Correll (1972-76) with his 1,312th point and leaving him just five points behind Devon Moore (2008-13).
The Dukes will have an off date this coming Thursday before travelling north to Towson to face the Tigers in a 2 p.m. matchup on Saturday, Jan. 18. The Tigers are currently 9-9 (3-3 CAA) after an 84-68 victory over Delaware.