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Second Half Run Sinks Men's Basketball At JMU

Chris Taleghani

HARRISONBURG, Va. – A 24-4 run early in the second half proved to be the difference on Saturday as Old Dominion men's basketball fell to James Madison 78-63 in front of over 7,600 at the Atlantic Union Bank Center in Sun Belt Conference action.
"We were ready to compete, they were up to the challenge, but a defensive lapse gives a team like JMU chances. That starts to snowball and small runs becomes one big one," said ODU Interim Head Coach Kieran Donohue.
ODU (6-17, 2-9) took a 44-42 lead on a pair of Devin Ceaser free throws with 16:38 left after being fouled on a three-point shot. JMU answered with three free throws by Noah Friedel after being fouled on a three-point attempt as the Dukes took a 45-44 advantage 40 seconds later.
Chaunce Jenkins gave the Monarchs their final lead of the night, 46-45, on a driving layup at the 15:38 mark.
JMU (20-3, 8-3) ripped off the next 14 points as T.J. Bickerstaff hit a bucket and then a pair of free throws to lead 59-46 with 12:02 remaining.
Following a layup by R.J. Blakney with 11:09 left making the deficit 59-48, the Dukes scored the next seven points as Raekwon Horton stole the ball and connected with Bryant Randleman for a 66-48 advantage with 9:45 on the clock.
To start the game, the teams traded blows as the Dukes held a 16-10 lead following a layup from Terrence Edwards, Jr. with 11:51 left. JMU kept the lead going at 23-18 following a Raekwon Horton 3-pointer at the 8:45 mark.
ODU answered with a 7-0 run capped by a Ceaser layup followed by a 1-of-2 from the line to lead 25-23 with 5:44 left.
That lead grew to four a couple of occasions with a Tyrone Williams 3-ball giving the Monarchs a 36-32 lead with 64 seconds remaining in the half.
Ceaser was the leading scorer for ODU with 14 points, while Williams had 13, Jenkins added 12 and Blakney chipped in with 10. On the night, ODU shot 21-of-50 from the floor (42%), 5-of-15 from 3-point range (33%) and 16-of-22 from the line (72.7%). Blakney and Jenkins had a pair of assists each, while Blakney had three steals and Jenkins recorded three blocked shots to lead the team. On the boards, Ceaser and Jason Wade shared team-high honors with six each. The six rebounds were a career-high for Ceaser.
In the first half, the Monarchs were 10-of-21 from the floor (47.6%) and 4-of-5 from 3-point range (80%). The next 20 minutes saw those numbers drop hitting 11-of-29 from the floor (37.9%) and 1-of-10 from 3-point range (10%).
JMU also had four in double figures paced by Friedel with 18, Horton with 17, Edwards with 12 and Bickerstaff with 10 off the bench. The Dukes were 27-of-56 from the floor (48.2%), 7-of-16 from 3-point land (43.8%) and 17-of-27 from the line (63%).
In the second half, the Dukes warmed up hitting 14-of-24 from the floor (58.3%) and 5-of-9 from 3-point land (55.6%). On the boards, JMU held a 33-32 advantage with Horton having a double-double leading after his 10 rebound outing. He also had a game-high five steals.
The three-game road trip concludes on Wednesday night in Hattiesburg, Mississippi against Southern Miss at 8 p.m. EST. ODU starts a five-game homestand on February 10 hosting Central Michigan in the second round of the MAC-Sun Belt Challenge at 2 p.m.