James Madison men’s basketball will resume play after a week off when it hosts Towson in its final home game of the season on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the JMU Convocation Center. Pregame ceremonies will honor graduating players Andrey Semenov and Christian Pierce.
The game includes several fan promotions with a pregame chicken finger tailgate for students, a spring break tanktop giveaway to the first 500 students and a Duke Dog gnome giveaway to the first 1,000 non-student fans.
Before the week off, the Dukes claimed a 63-61 overtime victory against Drexel to win their second in a row and improve to 11-17 overall and 6-8 within the Colonial Athletic Association. JMU shot just 18 percent in the first half but turned it around to shoot 61 percent for the second half and overtime combined. The Dragons shot 30.4 percent but were able to keep it close due to 87 percent free throw shooting (26-for-30). A dunk by Drexel forward Rodney Williams tied the game with 6.6 seconds remaining in regulation.
JMU pulled ahead in the extra session, largely due to sophomore Ron Curry, who posted seven points in overtime, including a game-winning 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds remaining. The guard led the Dukes with 18 points and was joined in double digits by sophomore guards Charles Cooke and Andre Nation, who recorded 13 and 12 points, respectively. Freshman forward Tom Vodanovich tied his season high of 11 rebounds along with recording six points and two blocks.
In their last game, the Tigers claimed their 20th win of the season and their fourth straight with an 83-77 victory over Hofstra. Senior forward Jerrelle Benimon led Towson with 22 points and six rebounds, but when he found himself in foul trouble early in the second half, seniors Rafiel Guthrie and Mike Burwell combined for 23 points in the final 16 minutes of the game to lift the Tigers over the Pride.
Just three weeks ago on Feb. 4, the Dukes fell to Towson 80-71 on the road. JMU forced six turnovers early to gain a 23-21 advantage, but the Tigers responded with a 17-2 run that put them up 38-25 at the break. Towson led by as much as 20 in the second half before Madison brought the deficit under 10 in the closing seconds. Nation led all players with 20 points while Guthrie led the Tigers with 17 points. Curry and Cooke also reached double figures for the Dukes with 13 and 10 points. Benimon, Burwell and Marcus Damas scored 16, 14 and 10, respectively, for Towson.
Entering the game, the Dukes are tied for fifth with the College of Charleston in the CAA standings, having climbed from a tie for sixth while idle. Madison sits one game back of Drexel in fourth place and two games ahead of Hofstra in the quest to avoid the tournament’s extra Friday game.
After facing Towson the Dukes will play their final regular season game of the year when they travel to Hempstead, N.Y. to take on Hofstra on Saturday, March 1st at 7 p.m.