JMU roundup: Dukes remain perfect in CAA

Daily Staff Reports- sports@nvdaily.com

WILMINGTON, N.C.- Redshirt sophomore Jazmon Gwathmey scored a game-high 17 points to lead five players in double figures as the James Madison women’s basketball team rolled past UNCW 77-41 at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, N.C., Sunday.

JMU tied its season-long streak with its fifth straight win, improving to 15-4 overall and 5-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association. UNCW saw its two-game winning streak snapped, falling to 3-16 and 2-4 in the league.

Gwathmey’s 17 points tied her career-high set last season against Towson (Feb. 21, 2013) as she shot 7-for-13 from the field. She added six rebounds, a steal and an assist. Senior guard Kirby Burkholder scored 13 points, on 5-for-8 shooting, to go with eight rebounds and two assists. Sophomore guard Precious Hall chipped in 13 points while junior forward Toia Giggetts and freshman forward Da’Lishia Griffin contributed 10 points and seven rebounds apiece.

For Griffin it was her first career double-digit effort as she connected on all three of her shots from the field and pulled in five offensive rebounds.

The Seahawks were led by guard Kelva Atkins with 12 points, adding six rebounds and four steals. She scored 12 of her team’s 21 points in the first half, hitting on five of her seven shot attempts. D’Asia Cain chipped in 9 points and three rounds while Ryan Flowers and Brie Mobley had four points and six boards apiece.

JMU took control of the game early on as it built a 9-2 advantage in the game’s first 5:26 with six points coming from Giggetts. Madison followed that run with another 12-4 stretch to push the lead to 15 at 21-6. UNCW never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way as the lead ballooned to as much as 21 before closing the half with the Dukes up by 18.

JMU hit on 55.2 percent of its shots during the opening stanza, including a 4-for-9 mark from 3-point range. The Dukes led 22-12 on points in the paint and 8-7 on second-chance points. Wilmington did a third of its damage from the free throw line as it went 7-12 from the charity stripe.

The second half saw JMU open with a 14-3 run, including eight points from Gwathmey. The Seahawks hit on just one basket during the opening five minutes of play and trailed by 29 at the first media timeout. The lead remained in the 20s for much of the second half, never falling below 25 and grew to as much as 38 points twice.

Madison dominated the paint, outscoring UNCW 44-22 on points in the paint and had a 42-31 advantage in rebounding. The Dukes pulled in 16 offensive rebounds for 15 second chance points to 13 offensive boards and 12 points for the Seahawks. JMU’s bench contributed 18 points while Wilmington received 11 points from its bench.

JMU shot 48.4 percent from the field, including hitting on six of 16 3-point attempts. UNCW shot 28.8 for the game and 0-for-9 from three. Redshirt senior Nikki Newman and Giggetts combined for eight of JMU’s 14 assists while the Dukes’ defense limited the Seahawks to three assists for the game.

The Dukes won their sixth straight in the serious with the Seahawks and improved to 52-9 all-time against them.

The 36-point victory was tied for the third-largest margin for the Dukes this season and tied for the largest in CAA play. UNCW’s 41 points was the second-fewest Madison has given up this year and the least a conference opponent has scored.

JMU returns to action next Friday as it welcomes the College of Charleston to the Convocation Center for their first visit as a CAA opponent.

Men’s basketball

HARRISONBURG – Freshman guard Jackson Kent posted a career-high 17 points, including 10 straight for James Madison over a key second-half stretch, in a 58-56 victory over the College of Charleston in a Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball game on Saturday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.

JMU halted a four-game conference skid to improve to 7-13 overall and 2-4 in the CAA. It was Madison’s first-ever win over CAA newcomer, College of Charleston, which fell to 11-10 overall and 3-3 in the league.

Kent had scored 14 total points in JMU’s first five league games before emerging with 17 for the afternoon to go with five rebounds. Sophomore guard Andre Nation added 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Sophomore guard Ron Curry added 12 points and three assists.

Willis Hall led all players with 22 points and eight rebounds for Charleston. Adjehi Baru added a double-double of 13 points, 13 boards and three blocks.

Nation scored seven of JMU’s first nine points in the second half as the Dukes maintained the lead 37-31 through the first five minutes. However, with Madison ahead 40-36, College of Charleston reeled off six points with Theo Johnson’s three giving the Cougars their first lead at 42-40 since 23-21 in the first half.

Kent took over during the middle portion of the second half for the Dukes, posting 10 straight JMU points over one stretch. His third three of the night tied it at 48-48. He added a layup and a pair of free throws to push the Dukes in front 52-48 and break his career high.

JMU led 56-51 with five minutes to go when Nori Johnson hit a three to cut it to 56-54. The score stuck there for nearly three minutes as the teams traded turnovers and missed shots.

Nation hit 1-of-2 free throws with two minutes to go to make it 57-54. Again the score held until Baru was fouled on a loose ball with 28 seconds left. He hit both at the line to cut the score to 57-56. Curry was fouled two seconds later and hit 1-of-2 to make it 58-56.

Charleston got the ball to Baru in the post in the final seconds, but he was double teamed. He kicked to the left corner, where Anthony Stitt’s buzzer three came up short.

JMU shot 41 percent overall and 6-for-12 from the arc. The Dukes maintained their season-long 61 percent mark from the foul line (16-for-26). Charleston shot 43 percent overall but just 5-for-21 (24 percent) on 3-point attempts.

The teams traded short runs in the early minutes with Charleston going 6-0, JMU tying 6-0 and the Cougars going ahead again 12-6. The Cougars stretched the lead to 18-11 when JMU took over.

The Dukes reeled off eight unanswered points, taking their first lead on a reverse layup from Kent with an assist from Nation. Charleston briefly reclaimed the lead at 23-19 before JMU rolled nine more points to end the period with Curry’s layup at the buzzer pushing Madison in front 28-23 at the break.

JMU shot 50 percent in the half, including 3-of-6 from the arc, while College of Charleston shot 38 percent, 3-for-12 from long range. JMU led first-half rebounds 16-14 after College of Charleston had led the rebounding battle 44-27 just 18 days earlier.

Kent and Nation had seven points apiece for JMU while Semenov added six points and six boards. Hall had 11 for the Cougars, who weathered foul trouble with starters Anthony Thomas and Nori Johnson each picking up two in the first three minutes while Thomas and Stitt each picked up three in the half.

JMU travels to Boston on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. CAA contest at Northeastern.