After having lost seven of its previous eight games, James Madison got back on the winning track Saturday with a 55-49 win over Hampton in the opening game of the 2013 Governor's Hoops Holiday Classic in Richmond, Va.
Sophomore guard Ron Curry led the victorious Dukes (4-9) with a game-high 20 points, his second consecutive 20-plus point performance in a row. He was the only JMU player in double figures, followed by Andrey Semenov and Taylor Bessick, both with eight points apiece. Tom Vodanovich had a career-high 11 rebounds, while Bessick added 10.
Hampton (5-7), which has lost its last two games following a three-game winning streak, was led by sophomore guard Brian Darden, who scored 14 points before fouling out with 22 seconds left in the game. Also in double figures for the Pirates were Ke'Ron Brown with a season-high 12 points (and a team-high nine rebounds) and Du'Vaughn Maxwell with 10.
Even though it played just eight players in the game (vs. 10 players for Hampton), James Madison, the defending Colonial Athletic Association champions, never trailed after taking a 26-24 lead on a buzzer-beating rebound basket by Tom Vodanovich at the end of the half.
The Dukes led by as much as eight points in the second half, 50-42. With four JMU players in foul trouble late in the second half, Hampton managed to close to within three points (52-49) on a steal and layup by Maxwell with 1:04 left, but the Dukes' Curry sealed things up with a jumper and free throw in the final 34 seconds.
"I thought it was a gritty 40 minutes for us," JMU coach Matt Brady said. "We haven't had a full 40 minutes for a couple of games until now."
JMU outshot Hampton 44 percent to 32 percent and outrebounded the Pirates 35-33 in a game that saw nine lead changes, all in the first half.
JMU is 4-1 all-time against Hampton, avenging the Dukes' only loss to the Pirates in last season's Holiday Classic (69-65).