JMU MBB falls on final shot at Delaware

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NEWARK, Del. (JMU Athletics) -- Sophomore Deshon Parker and junior Matt Lewis both racked up more than 20 points and James Madison out-shot a high-powered Delaware offense on Saturday afternoon, but Nate Darling hit a running jumper for the Blue Hens with less than six seconds left to hand the Dukes a heartbreaking 80-78 loss in Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball at the Bob Carpenter Center.

Delaware men's basketball team celebrates game winner over James Madison (FLOSPORTS)

The Dukes (9-15, 2-11 CAA) shot the ball well, hitting 28 of their 63 (44.4%) shots from the floor and 15 of their 16 (93.8%) free throws on the afternoon, while holding Delaware (18-7, 8-4 CAA) to just 43.9% shooting (25-57) and a difficult 6-of-23 clip (26.1%) from the three-point line.

Parker racked up 23 points, matching the career high he set in his previous game on Thursday night, while Lewis scored 15 in the second half to give him 21 on the afternoon. Junior forward Zach Jacobs erupted for his best performance in some time, tallying 16 points and six boards in a 7-of-11 performance from the field.

Darling scored 27 points on the day to lead the Blue Hens, while Justyn Mutts posted a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The two teams went step-for-step in a first half that saw six ties and 10 lead changes as neither side ever led by more than five, with the Blue Hens taking a 35-34 lead into the break.

Delaware pushed the lead to five after intermission, constructing a 41-36 advantage before JMU went on a 6-0 run to seize a 42-41 lead with 14:59 to go in the contest. The Dukes would match Delaware shot for shot in the second half, eventually building a 66-59 lead with 6:21 to play.

The Blue Hens ran down the Dukes late, however, with the help of a 24-of-31 performance at the free throw line, including 18-of-20 in the second half when the Dukes were whistled for 13 fouls to Delaware's five.

Parker tied the contest at 78-78 with just under 15 seconds to play, setting the stage for Darling's jumpshot before a length-of-the-court sprint from Parker again saw his buzzer-beating attempt catch iron and fall off.

"Really difficult one for us today. We felt like we put ourselves in a situation to win that game and just needed one or two more plays to pick up a really good win on the road. We need to see that that's what it takes to win in this league."

The Dukes will return home for a single game this coming weekend, welcoming Towson to the Convocation Center for an 8 p.m.