Dukes Fall at #1 North Carolina

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – James Madison men’s basketball threatened multiple times in the second half on Sunday afternoon, but could not overcome a cold shooting day against the top-ranked team in the country as the Dukes dropped an 80-64 decision to #1 North Carolina at the Dean E. Smith Center.
 
The Dukes (4-1) saw four players score in double figures and got 20 more points off the bench, but UNC (4-0) used a 50-34 rebounding advantage and a 24-69 (34.8%) shooting performance from JMU to stay perfect in 2022-23.
 
Graduate guard Takal Molson led the Dukes, hitting three three-pointers on his way to 19 points, adding six boards and three steals across 32 minutes with just one turnover. Graduate forward Mezie Offurum added 12 points and eight rebounds to go with a team-high three assists.
 
Richmond native Armando Bacot controlled the game for UNC, racking up 19 points while grabbing 23 rebounds – including eight on the offensive side. RJ Davis added 21 points and five assists for the Tar Heels.
 
Sophomore Julien Wooden and senior Vado Morse added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for JMU.
 
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Half
UNC jumped out quickly, hitting six of its first nine shots – including a pair of three-pointers – as the Tar Heels put JMU in 17-9 hole after just 6:06. After a three-pointer from Alonzo Sule cut the lead to five, though, UNC ran off 10 straight points to make it 27-12 at the 10-minute mark.
 
The teams went back and forth for the final minutes until a 9-2 UNC run pushed the lead to as many as 45-24 before a dunk from Justin Amadi closed the half at 45-26.
 
Second Half
The Dukes cut into the lead immediately after the break, with Offurum scoring the first four points of the half before baskets from Molson and Morse extended the run to 12-2 to cut the lead to 47-38.
 
The two sides continued to battle back and forth from there, as the Dukes cut it to single-digits on four separate occasions, but JMU could not get closer than an eight-point deficit with 9:18 to play. UNC extended things to as many as 19 late in the half but never cleared the 20-point barrier.
 
QUICK HITS
– Sunday marked the fifth straight game in which at least four Dukes have scored in double figures.
– The Dukes limited UNC to just 35 second-half points, the lowest total for a JMU opponent since Valley Forge in the season opener.
 
UP NEXT
The Dukes will head farther south for the holiday week, travelling to Savannah, Ga. to face Coastal Georgia at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 25, before taking on South Dakota State and Valparaiso on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, as part of the Hostilo Community Classic. Both games will tip at noon.
 



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