JMU MBB falls to Delaware in final minute

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- James Madison battled back from a double-digit deficit in the second half on Thursday evening, but Delaware used a late three-pointer from junior Kevin Anderson to help hand the Dukes an 80-76 loss in Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball action at the Convocation Center.

James Madison's Dwight Wilson attempts a free throw shot against Delaware on Thursday, January 9.

The Dukes (8-8, 1-4 CAA) had three players score in double figures, led by junior guard Matt Lewis with 19 points. Junior guard Darius Banks added 18 points on the evening, while junior forward Dwight Wilson just missed a double-double with 15 points and nine boards.

Delaware (12-5, 2-2 CAA) got a double-double from junior transfer Dylan Painter, who tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds in the win, including 17 points and nine boards after halftime.

The Dukes roared out to an early lead with the help of strong defense against a prolific Delaware attack, picking up a 25-15 advantage on a Wilson layup with 8:37 to play in the first half. The Blue Hens roared back, however, tying things up at 30-30 in just over four minutes of play.

Delaware then used another run to turn a 42-33 JMU lead into a 50-42 advantage for the Blue Hens with 17 straight points across 3:35 of play that spanned across halftime. JMU battled back, tying things up and eventually taking a 69-67 lead with 5:07 to play on a three-pointer from freshman Julien Wooden.

The two teams traded the lead five times over the next handful of possessions before Delaware found Anderson in transition with 38 seconds to play and the junior hit a leaning three from the corner to dive the Blue Hens a 75-73 lead that they would not relinquish as they went 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final minute.

"Three minutes at the end of the first half and three minutes at the start of the second half hit us hard tonight. They came out with a little more energy and made two or three really big plays down the stretch. That's what we have to fix with another really big game on Saturday."

- Junior guard Matt Lewis leapt up the JMU scoring charts with his 19 points on Thursday, passing three players (Eugene Atkinson, Steve Hood and George Toliver) to climb into 15th in JMU history at 1,288 points, just 10 behind David Correll in 14th.
- The Dukes racked up six blocks on the evening, their most since their 81-60 win over Charleston Southern on Dec. 16.
- Senior guard Antanee Pinkard continued to provide quality minutes off the bench, tying his season high with three rebounds in just 15 minutes.

The Dukes will stay at home for the weekend, playing host to Drexel in a 4 p.m. matchup on Saturday afternoon. On Thursday night, the Dragons fell at Towson in an 89-73 decision that dropped them to 9-8 (2-2 CAA) on the season.