JMU roundup: Dalembert’s career night boost Dukes to win

HARRISONBURG — Sophomore forward Yohanny Dalembert scored a career-high 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting to lead the James Madison Universityy men’s basketball team to a 77-71 victory over Colgate in the Buckeye Classic on Monday evening at the JMU Convocation Center.

Dalembert, who has scored in double figures in consecutive contests, also pulled down six rebounds, tied for the team lead, as JMU moved to 3-1 in a game which they trailed for only 1:57 in the first half.

Junior guard Ron Curry led a trio of other Dukes in double digits with 19 points to go with a season-best six assists, while sophomore guard Jackson Kent scored 17 and junior guard Winston Grays chipped in 10.

The Raiders (1-3) were paced by Matt McMullen, who had a team-best 18 points, while Austin Tillotson had 17 points. Two others recorded double figures in the loss in Damon Sherman-Newsome (14) and Ethan Jacobs (12).

The Dukes shot higher than 50 percent for the second straight outing, with a 52 percent (23-44) clip, while holding the Raiders to 46 percent (23-50) from the floor. James Madison also shot 55 percent (6-11) from beyond the 3-point arc. The one category the Raiders led was at the free-throw line, where they shot 84 percent (16-19) while the Dukes struggled in the second half, finishing at 66 percent (25-38). JMU outrebounded Colgate 32-26 and both teams did a nice job holding onto the ball, with each squad only turning it over eight times each.

In the first half and leading 20-17, JMU used an 11-0 run in 84 seconds, with nine of those points coming from Kent on an old-fashioned 3-point play and back-to-back treys, to give the Dukes a 31-17 lead with 6:55 remaining. The Raiders answered back with a surge of their own, nearly erasing the deficit with a 12-0 run as they held JMU without a point for over four minutes. Leading by a point, a layup by sophomore forward Tom Vodanovich and a Curry jumper in the final minute put the Dukes ahead 39-34 at the break.

JMU went ahead 45-35 early on in the second stanza but, with Colgate trailing 53-46, a 4-0 mini run trimmed Madison’s lead to three at 53-50 with 10:37 to play. The Dukes responded with a run as a Gray triple sparked a 6-0 run that was capped off by a Dalembert layup with 9:18 to play. CU wouldn’t go away and was able to get it in the three-to-four point range for much of the latter part of the second half.

Fast forward to the final 100 seconds, when a pair of Kent free throws put the hosts ahead 71-64. Colgate answered with a trey by McMullen with 1:05 left, cutting it to 71-67. Two misses by Colgate allowed JMU to get the lead back to seven on a few from the stripe and the visitors never drew closer than five in the closing moments.

JMU will be back in action on Wednesday when it welcomes Sacred Heart to the Convocation Center for a 2 p.m. matchup.

Women’s basketball

HARRISONBURG — After posting a career-high 34 points in No. 23 James Madison women’s basketball’s 80-64 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday, junior guard Precious Hall earned Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week honors, the league announced Monday.

This is the second CAA Player of the Week nod and the seventh overall weekly conference honor of Hall’s career (two CAA Player of the Weeks, five CAA Rookie of the Weeks). Dukes have now earned the first two weekly honors for the league after redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor was named the CAA Player of the Week for week one.

Hall’s 34 points on Sunday surpassed her previous high of 26 points, set against Northeastern on Feb. 7. She added 16 points at American last week to average 25.0 points per contest over the last two games, shooting 41.3 percent from the floor, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and 85.7 percent (6-7) from the charity stripe.

Over the second week of the young season, Hall added eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals for the Dukes. Through four games, Hall leads JMU with 23.5 points per game and boasts the second-most assists with 3.8 dishes per game. She is also shooting 96.0 percent (24-25) from the free throw line.

Hall was also named the College Sports Madness National High-Major Women’s Basketball Player of the week as well as the Madness CAA Player of the Week on Nov. 24.

No. 23 JMU heads south for the San Juan Shootout Nov. 29-30 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Dukes face No. 10/8 Maryland on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and take on Houston on Saturday at 5 p.m.