James Madison's men's basketball is back in action on Wednesday as the Dukes host the Drexel Dragons in Colonial Athletic Association action and look to avoid a five-game losing streak. Tip is at 7 p.m. as JMU looks to snap both its own four-game losing streak and Drexel's 11-game winning streak.
JMU fell 85-80 Saturday afternoon to Delaware, putting its season record at 10-15 and 3-10 in the CAA. Redshirt junior guard A.J. Davis had a career-high 30 points while senior guard Humpty Hitchens chipped in 17 points. The Dukes shot 46 percent from the floor and better than 52 percent from behind the arc but weren't able to pull out the win despite crawling within reach of Delaware on multiple occasions in the second half.
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Drexel captured its 11th straight win of the season over the Towson Tigers on Saturday. With the win, Drexel is currently tied with George Mason and VCU for first place in the CAA and holds the nation's fifth-longest active winning streak. Frantz Massenat scored 25 points to help lead the Dragons over the Tigers by a score of 65-57 and improve their record to 19-5 and 11-2 in CAA play. Massenat scored 18 of his points in the second half and went a perfect 15 for 15 from the free throw line, which was a school record. He has made 33 straight at the stripe, one shy of the program standard
The Dragons got out to a quick 22-12 lead before the eight-minute mark in the game, but continued to let the Tigers chip away and only went into the half up 29-25. The Tigers were finally able to cut the lead to three with just six minutes remaining in the game, but it was Massenat sinking 8-of-8 free throws in the final 1:38 that sealed the game for the Dragons. Drexel was outrebounded by Towson 34-30, which is the first time the Dragons have been outrebounded in the last 18 games.
The Dragons are led offensively by Frantz Massenat, Damion Lee, and Samme Givens. Massenat is the team's leading scorer, averaging 13 points per game. He is also leading the CAA in three point field goal percentage with 47 percent. Both Lee and Givens are averaging 12 points per game, and Givens holds a 53 percent field goal percentage on the season.
Davis and Hitchens are pacing the Dukes on the offensive side of the ball by averaging 16 and 15 points apiece per game. Davis is shooting 45 percent from the field while Hitchens is hitting 38 percent from long range. Hitchens is also tied with VCU's Troy Daniels leading the league in three-pointers made, averaging 2.8 per game. Redshirt junior forward Andrey Semenov has been on an offensive tear the last five games by averaging 14 points and shooting 57 percent from behind the arc.
Drexel leads the all-time series 14-4 against the Dukes. The Dragons won each of the first 12 meetings between the teams against previous JMU coaches Lefty Driesell, Sherman Dillard and Dean Keener. However, Matt Brady actually possesses one of his best CAA marks against Drexel with a 4-2 record, including three straight triumphs.
In the teams' last meeting on February 9, 2011, JMU was able to rally from a 16 point deficit in the first half to win 68-54. JMU was able to hold the Dragons to shooting only 37 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Dragons 41-36. It was only the fifth time all year Drexel had been outrebounded. Former senior forward Denzel Bowles finished with his 13th double-double of the season by scoring 22 points and pulling in 13 rebounds. Current senior guard Humpty Hitchens also added 14 points on the night while making three from long range.
Following the Dukes' match up on Wednesday against Drexel will be an away game at Towson on Saturday at noon at the Towson Center Arena. The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.