JMU Men's Basketball earns first CAA win, tops Charleston

By  | 

HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- James Madison roared out to a 17-point first-half lead on Saturday evening, then held off a hard-charging College of Charleston team to lead wire-to-wire in a 69-58 win over the first-place Cougars in Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball action at the JMU Convocation Center.

The Dukes (8-9, 1-3 CAA) stormed out of the gate, hitting 15 of their 23 first-half shots (65.2 percent), including seven of their 10 three-pointers, to take a 43-26 lead at the break. JMU would hold Charleston (13-3, 2-1 CAA) to just a 38.8 percent (19-of-49) clip from the field on the game to snap its five-game losing streak.

Sophomore Darius Banks continued his run of stellar play to lead the Dukes, racking up 21 points in an efficient 7-of-12 shooting performance that saw him hit four of his five three-pointers, while adding seven boards, three assists, two steals and a block.

Three other players joined Banks in double figures, with senior Stuckey Mosley and sophomore Matt Lewis adding 13 points and sophomore Dwight Wilson notching his fourth double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Dukes fought off a second-half charge, as Charleston reeled off 14 straight points across 4:22 midway through the second half before Mosley buried a three from the corner to push the lead back to 55-50. Charleston wouldn't get closer than four the rest of the way, as JMU held the Cougars to just 1-of-10 shooting from that point on to close out the win.

"I can't say enough about our effort tonight. These guys could have been down and licking their wounds, but our guys aren't those kinds of guys. They came out of the locker room and brought the energy we need. We have to keep building on this win. We're very happy, but we know we have to get back to work and stay focused."

- Freshman guard Deshon Parker racked up six assists on the afternoon, matching his collegiate high.
- The Dukes' 43 first-half points marked the most by JMU since scoring 48 in the first half in the season-opener against Eastern Mennonite on Nov. 6.
- Sophomore guard Darius Banks led the Dukes in scoring for the fifth time this season, with JMU improving to 5-0 in those contests.
- Saturday marked just the second time this season that the Dukes have never trailed in a victory, with the other coming in the 86-58 win over Eastern Mennonite on Nov. 6.
- Charleston's 58 points marked the Dukes' least allowed to a Division I opponent this year and the fewest since a 58-57 loss to Delaware on Feb. 11, 2017.

The Dukes will be at home for the final contest of a three-game homestand on Saturday, Jan. 12, when they welcome Towson to Harrisonburg for a 4 p.m. tipoff. On Saturday afternoon, the Tigers dropped a 67-61 decision at home to UNCW to fall to 5-11 (1-3 CAA) on the year.