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Men’s Basketball Drops Road Opener at James Madison, 58-53

Keith Lucas

HARRISONBURG, Va. – C.J. Keyser scored 21 points, and the Monarch defense held James Madison to 33.9-percent shooting from the field in a 58-53 loss inside Atlantic Union Bank Center on Saturday evening. Trailing by 10 at the half, ODU (1-1) rallied and led 51-50 with 2:42 left to play, but the Dukes (2-0) scored eight of the final 10 points of the game to secure the win.
A transfer from North Carolina Central, Keyser made nine of his 16 shot attempts and chipped in four rebounds and three steals. Kalu Ezikpe joined Keyser in double figures with 11 on 4-of-8 shooting and grabbed six rebounds.
The Monarchs trailed 35-25 at the intermission after shooting 35.7 percent in the first half and missing all seven of their long-range attempts. JMU led for the final 16:01 of the half and was up nine, 18-9, with 8:25 to go. From there, ODU scored six unanswered to cut the deficit to three. Charles Smith IV made it 20-7 with 6:54 left on the clock in the first, but the Monarchs were outscored 15-8 for the remainder of the frame. JMU twice upped its advantage to 12 points, but an Imo Essien layup with six seconds remaining made the margin 10 points heading to the break.
Old Dominion surged in the second half, making nearly half of its attempts from the floor while limiting the Dukes to 7-of-24 (.292) shooting. Keyser erupted for 19 points after halftime, making eight of his 10 shots in that span.
The Monarchs needed less than 10 minutes of play in the second half to make it a one-score game. Keyser scored a layup on the break to make it 40-38, capping a run where he netted 10 out of 13 points for ODU. JMU had a quick answer with a 3-pointer on the next possession and regained a six-point lead at 48-42 with 6:46 left to play.
ODU's lone trey of the game came at the right moment as it cut the Dukes' lead to a point at 50-49. JMU missed a 3-pointer on its next possession, and Ezikpe gave the Monarchs their first lead of the game since the first four minutes of the game at 51-50. That layup at the 2:42 mark would be the last made field goal of the game for Old Dominion.
JMU regained the lead for good with 2:16 to play on a Charles Falden 3-pointer. Ezikpe then tied the score at 53-all with two made foul shots, but the Dukes broke the tie with a pair of foul shots of their own just 16 seconds later.
Old Dominion finished the night with 10 steals and forced 16 JMU turnovers. Ezikpe, Keyser and Jaylin Hunter all had three steals for the Monarchs.
Jalen Hodge led JMU with 16 points and had four of the Dukes' seven made 3-pointers.
Old Dominion returns to the court on Monday night when it hosts Manhattan at 7 p.m.