James Madison men’s basketball will return to the Convocation Center for the first time since November 19th to face Ball State in its second home game of the season. The game will take place on December 30th at 8 p.m. as part of a tripleheader day in the Convo as the JMU women host games at noon and 2:30.
The Ball State matchup comes nine days after a win over Hampton in the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic on December 21st at the Richmond Coliseum. After falling 78-65 to UNCG, the Dukes were able to come back for their second win in three games with a 55-49 victory against the Pirates, improving JMU’s overall record to 4-9.
A buzzer shot by freshman Tom Vodanovich put JMU up 26-24 at the half over the Pirates. The Dukes maintained the lead for the remainder of the game, despite Hampton keeping its deficit within one or two possessions until the game’s final minutes.
Sophomore guard Ron Curry led the Dukes for the third time this season with 19 points and two assists. That effort followed a 23-point game against UNCG and clinched CAA Player of the Week accolades for Curry. Vodanovich had six points and 11 rebounds while sophomore Taylor Bessick posted eight points and 10 boards, the second time both players had double-figure rebounding games this season.
In its final game before the holiday break, Ball State suffered a 66-58 loss to Southern Illinois University. With the game tied at 55 with five minutes to play, SIU held the Cardinals without a field goal the rest of the way. Freshman point guard Zavier Turner led Ball State with 15 points while Chris Bond and Mark Alstork added 10 apiece.
Among common opponents this season, both squads lost to Valparaiso. JMU fell to the Crusaders 81-49 on the road in the first meeting between the two teams in program history, while Ball State gave up its 31-20 halftime lead to suffer a 69-50 home loss.
This will be the first time JMU faces Ball State in program history. The Dukes have faced one other foe from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) this season with a 60-55 win at Northern Illinois. After the Dukes wrap up non-conference play against the Cardinals, they open Colonial Athletic Association action back on the road facing UNCW on January 4th at 7 p.m.