James Madison-Belmont: Dukes Take Down Bruins

Eric PuffenbargerContributor IDecember 31, 2008


James Madison bounced back on Tuesday night by beating the Belmont Bruins 81-64 in the consolation game of the Cable Car Classic.

In the opening round game against UTEP, the Dukes struggled to match the three-point shooting of the Miners. Randy Culpepper set a school record with eight daggers from downtown and paced UTEP with 30 points. JMU, on the other hand, shot only 4 of 16 from long range. The Miners went on to beat JMU 79-66.

It was a different story last night, as the Dukes shot 10 of 20 from deep and dominated the second half on their way to a very convincing win.

Kyle Swanston shook off a poor performance against UTEP and scored 23 points while Pierre Curtis ended his early season slump with his best game of the season, scoring 16 points.

Curtis scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half to keep the Dukes close in a period that was often sloppy and turnover-plagued. JMU had 14 turnovers and the Bruins turned the ball over 11 times. Belmont also controlled the offensive glass in the half, pulling down 14 offensive rebounds.

However, the Dukes settled down in the second half, committing only four turnovers and converting several Belmont miscues into scores.

JMU was helped by the return of Andrey Semenov, who sat out Monday with the flu. He scored six points and grabbed five rebounds. Julius Wells had 10 points and five rebounds, and Juwann James chipped in nine points, all of which came in the second half.

Belmont was led by Shane Dansby with 16 points, and the Bruins fell to 5-6. The Dukes improved to 8-5 on the season.

Santa Clara won the Cable Car Classic championship by beating UTEP 89-88 in a wild overtime game. Stefon Jackson scored 44 points to become UTEP's all-time leading scorer.