CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- James Madison built an 18-point second-half lead on Friday night, holding off a hard-charging Charlotte team on its way to a 64-59 win in non-conference men's basketball action at Halton Arena.
The Dukes (4-0) clamped down on defense, holding Charlotte (2-2) to 39.6 percent (21-of-53) shooting from the floor, including a 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) clip in the first half, despite the 49ers hitting nine of their 10 free throws. JMU also did not give up a three-pointer for the first 34:31 of the contest, forcing 13 straight misses to open the game.
Sophomore guard Darius Banks notched a game-high 21 points on the evening to lead the way for the Dukes, hitting all eight of his second-half free throws to help JMU seal the deal. Sophomore forward Dwight Wilson needed just four shots to score six points, but matched a career high with 12 boards.
Late in the second half, freshman guard Deshon Parker went on a personal 8-2 run to give the Dukes a 55-37 lead with 5:53 to play, but Charlotte responded with a 13-0 run to cut the lead to five with 1:35 left. The 49ers started fouling, however, allowing the Dukes to hit nine of 12 free throws across the remainder of the contest to seal the win.
QUOTING COACH ROWE
"We need to clean some things up down the stretch, but these guys are finding ways to dig down and get these wins. We have plenty of teaching moments to work on but I'm very proud of the way these guys have battled while we keep learning."
- The Dukes' 4-0 start is their best since the 1981-82 season, when JMU opened the year with eight consecutive wins.
- Friday's win marked the third time in the first four games in which the Dukes have held their opponent under 60 points.
- Despite playing just 15 minutes, freshman guard Deshon Parker racked up a career-high nine points, drilling his first two collegiate three-pointers in crucial moments for JMU.
- Sophomore Dwight Wilson racked up 12 boards, his career high, for the third time this year.
- Sophomore Darius Banks now has two 20-point performances already this year, matching his total from all of last season.
The Dukes will return home to open next week, welcoming The Citadel to Harrisonburg for a 7 p.m. tip on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Through four games, the Bulldogs are 2-2, with losses at Clemson and Texas.