JMU takes down Longwood

by Matt Lincoln

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Winning streaks are not common in Harrisonburg.  But you can consider the Dukes on one.  James Madison needed a big run in the second half to dispatch Longwood 88-78 in Farmville.  

JMU won its sixth in a row to improve to 6-1 overall while Longwood fell to 3-5.  The winning streak is the longest for the Dukes since a seven-game run in the 1993-94 season, the last time JMU won the CAA and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Sophomores Devon Moore and Andrey Semenov led James Madison to a 35-19 run in the final 12 minutes to rally past Longwood 88-78 on Wednesday night in a packed and raucous Willett Hall.

JMU trailed 59-53 with under 12 minutes remaining when Semenov sparked the comeback effort with a three-pointer, a dive for a loose ball with a timeout call and a turnaround layup in the paint.  Another steal by freshman guard Chad Jackson resulted in a Moore dunk for the first JMU lead (60-59) since the 13:13 mark of the first half.  A three-point play by Moore and a dunk by Denzel Bowles made it a 12-0 run to key the turnaround.

Moore went on to score 16 of JMU's final 30 as all of his scoring came in the final 10 minutes.  Semenov had 10 points and three steals, all in the 12-minute run, which was sparked by JMU's switch to a 3-2 zone defense.

Bowles put his name in the JMU record book for the second straight game, tying the mark for field goal percentage in a game by going 10-for-10 from the floor, including six dunks.  The previous standard was set by Clayton Ritter against Auburn on Dec. 5, 1992.  Bowles added 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double in the last five games.

JMU put five players in double figures for the first time this season with junior guard Humpty Hitchens registering his best game wearing purple and gold.  Hitchens totaled 18 points, including 4-of-7 three-point efficiency, to go with a team-best five assists.  Junior forward Rayshawn Goins added 13 points, including nine in the first half.

Guard Aaron Mitchell led all players with an impressive performance for Longwood with 28 points on 12-for-18 shooting and eight rebounds.  Antwan Carter had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds despite fouling out with seven minutes to go.  Durann Neil and Jeremiah Bowman had 13 and 11 points, respectively, with Bowman adding a game-high six assists.

Longwood grabbed an early 27-19 lead with eight minutes left in the first half before a Julius Wells three ignited a 12-4 JMU run to tie at 31-31 with 4:46 to go on a Semenov offensive rebound.

The Lancers responded with an 8-0 run that included a three-point play and a three-point field goal by Bowman for a 39-31 lead.  A Bowles dunk and the third three of the half by Hitchens helped the Dukes cut the margin to 41-36 at the half.

Hitchens and Goins led JMU with nine points apiece in the opening period, however the Dukes were hurt by four turnovers each by Goins and Bowles along with two early fouls each on Bowles and Moore.  LU's Mitchell led all players in the first half with 14 points while Bowman added nine.

JMU will be in action again on Saturday when the Dukes open Colonial Athletic Association play at Georgia State with a 2 p.m. tip.