Second Half Foils Dukes at George Mason

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FAIRFAX, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- Freshman forward Julien Wooden tallied 17 points off the bench on Saturday evening, but George Mason shot 52.8% from the field in the second half to pull away and hand James Madison an 83-70 defeat in non-conference men's basketball at EagleBank Arena.

JMU Men's Basketball head coach Louis Rowe

The Dukes (2-2) battled throughout, putting three players in double figures and keeping within two possessions of the Patriots (4-0) until the final minutes, but Mason would hit 19 of its 36 shots after halftime to pull away from JMU late.

Wooden went 6-of-8 from the field in his second straight solid outing helping the Dukes keep pace with a pair of highlight reel dunks late in the second half. Junior forward Zach Jacobs posted his second consecutive double-double with 10 points and 11 boards on the night, while junior guard Matt Lewis racked up a game-high 19 points with the help of an 8-for-8 evening at the free throw line.

After the Dukes scored six straight points to close the first half and battle into a 34-34 tie, Mason took advantage of a frantic opening to the second period, pushing the lead to 55-48 with 13:34 to play.

JMU would cut the lead to 62-61 with 8:15 on the clock, but the Patriots responded with five straight points and wouldn't allow the Dukes closer than four the rest of the way, ballooning the lead to as many as 15 in the final seconds.

Jamal Hartwell II scored 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting to lead George Mason on the evening.

QUOTING COACH ROWE
"Not the result we were looking for tonight, but I was proud of the way our guys battled. They came into a tough place to play and fought the way we ask them to. We have things to clean up on the execution side of the game, so we're going to get back and go to work on those as we get ready for a tough game next week."

QUICK HITS
- With 19 points on Saturday, junior Matt Lewis now has 1,067 career points, vaulting Head Coach Louis Rowe into 28th place on the Dukes' all-time scoring list.
- Combined with his performance in Wednesday's win over Shenandoah, freshman forward Julien Wooden was a combined 13-of-16 from the field this week, including 2-of-4 from behind the arc.

UP NEXT
The Dukes will continue their road swing through the Commonwealth on Wednesday, Nov. 20, before returning home for a three-game homestand across the Thanksgiving holidays.