RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 21, 2013 – Sophomore guard Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) poured in 19 points as James Madison held off Hampton in the final minutes for a 55-49 victory on Saturday afternoon in the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic in the Richmond Coliseum.
JMU won for the second time in three games to improve to 4-9 overall while HU dropped to 5-7. JMU also improved to 4-1 in the all-time series.
One game after a career-high 23 points on Wednesday at UNCG, Curry again held high points honors with 10 in the first half and nine in the second half. He was 7-for-10 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the arc.
JMU grabbed a two-point halftime lead at 26-24 on the last of nine first-half lead changes as freshman forward Tom Vodanovich (Wellington, New Zealand/St. Patrick’s College) collected a pair of lay-ins in the final minute.
The Dukes never surrendered the advantage in the second half. The game remained a one or two possession game until the largest JMU lead on a three-pointer by freshman guard Jackson Kent (High Point, N.C./High Point) to make it 41-35 with 12:20 to go.
After a dunk by Hampton’s Du’Vaughn Maxwell, both teams went scoreless for three and a half minutes until a Deron Powers jumper made it 41-39 with 8:27 remaining.
A three-pointer by graduate forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) gave James Madison a quick response and a jumper by sophomore Taylor Bessick (Philadelphia, Pa./Rise Academy) made it 46-39 with 6:58 to go.
JMU led 52-45 with 1:33 remaining on a pair of free throws by Curry before Hampton had one final push. A jumper in the paint by Emmanuel Okoroba followed by a Bessick turnover and a Maxwell layup made it 52-49 with 1:04 to go.
However, Curry worked the clock on JMU’s next possession and was able to connect on a falling lay-in from the paint for a key basket and a 54-49 lead. A free throw by sophomore guard Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) accounted for the 55-49 final.
In addition to Curry, Vodanovich had six points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Bessick added eight points and 10 rebounds as both players recorded their second double-figure boards game of the season. Semenov also had eight points for the Dukes.
Hampton was led by Brian Darden’s 14 points. Ke’Ron Brown added 12 points and nine boards while Maxwell chipped in 10 points, six boards, three steals and three blocks. Second-leading scorer Deron Powers, who averages 13.0 points per game, was held to four points on 1-for-13 shooting.
JMU shot 44 percent overall and 7-for-17 (41 percent) from the arc while limiting Hampton to 31.6 percent from the floor and 24 percent (6-for-25) from downtown. Both teams found difficulty at the foul line as JMU was 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) and HU was 7-for-15 (46.7 percent).
To open the game, Curry battled through early foul trouble after pickup up two in the first three minutes of play. Hampton took advantage to pull ahead 10-5. JMU came out of a timeout in a half-court trap, immediately forced a timeout and converted a three by Curry to ignite a 7-0 spurt and a 12-10 lead.
JMU maintained the lead until Hampton moved back in front 18-17 on a lane jumper by Pressley. A first half that featured nine score changes turned one last time as the Pirates led 24-22 while holding the Dukes scoreless for nearly four minutes before consecutive buckets by Vodanovich in the final minute. A driving layup for one score was followed by an offensive putback of a Semenov three at the buzzer for a 26-24 lead at the break.
Curry led all players with 10 points in the half on 4-for-5 shooting. Vodanovich added six and five rebounds. Ke’Ron Brown tallied seven points and five boards for Hampton.
For the first half, JMU shot 50 percent from the field and limited Hampton to 28 percent. However, the Pirates earned a major advantage by grabbing 10 offensive boards compared to two for the Dukes and holding a 10-2 advantage on second-chance points. However, the Dukes corrected the issue in the second half with a 5-4 edge on the offensive glass and 5-2 on second-chance opportunities.
JMU will take a brief holiday break and return to play on Monday, Dec. 30 by hosting Ball State at 8 p.m. It will be just the second home game of the season for the Dukes in their 14th contest of the year.