Jan 3 / Rob

Another CAA Game, Another Frustrating Loss for JMU

JMU welcomed the UNCW Seahawks to the Convo for the Dukes third game of the CAA season. JMU was riding a four game losing streak coming into the game, but was facing a UNCW squad in an even more dire situation, having lost 6 straight. Something was bound to give. Unfortunately, they didn’t give to the Dukes. UNCW managed to escape with an 86-83 double OT win. The loss drops JMU to an inversely-perfect 0-3 in league play. And things don’t get any easier from here. It’s quickly shaping up to be a long year for Lou Rowe and the Dukes. Let’s take a look at some key numbers that jumped out from the game.


That’s how many second elapsed after JMU scored its final points of the game. Yes, the Dukes did not score in the final 3:03 of the final OT period. Against the 329th ranked team in defensive efficiency. At home. Matt Lewis hit a couple of free throws with 3:03 on the clock to give JMU an 83-79 lead. The Dukes didn’t score from that point on and UNCW rattled off 7 straight to come from behind for the win.

It was only about a 3 minute stretch. But in many ways it was an example of what has hurt the Dukes this year. Nearly every game they go through a stretch of two where things just get away from them. Tonight they fell behind early, but battled back to take control in the second half. Unfortunately, they then managed to surrender a 7 point lead in regulation, and leads in each OT period. Last year, we all tried to paint a rosy picture and rationalize the way JMU consistently gave up leads or struggled to win close games. We told ourselves those sorts of losses were bad, but a product of youth and that the battles scars the Dukes earned, would enable them to close out tight games this year. That’s not happening.


That’s how many JMU players scored over 20 points in the game. Matt Lewis, Stuckey Mosley, and Darius Banks dropped 22, 21, and 20 points respectively. And the Dukes shot pretty well overall, hitting a solid 40% from 3 point range. There is a lot of talent on this JMU squad. Obviously, the three guys mentioned above can fill it up. But it’s not just them. Develle Phillips is good in the paint. Dwight Wilson has improved a bunch and has a high ceiling. Deshon Parker has poise beyond most freshman.

So why can’t JMU seem to win? Well, going off of the eye test it seems to be due to the fact that the offensive “system” largely consists of waiting for a guy to beat his man one on one, or to hit a big three. There are moments where it looks like a cohesive attack, and JMU did assist on 16 of 26 field goals tonight. Just like we saw last year however, when the game got tight things broke down to the point where there was a little too much individual play. It worked when Banks hit a big 3 to force the second OT. It failed when Mosley tried a tear drop runner in regulation and Lewis spotted up for a long 3 in the final period. And cheers to those guys for going for it. They’re good players. But everyone else seems to stand around and watch the guy with the ball. So there’s no improvising. No dishing when the extra defender slides. It’s like the guys don’t understand where they need to be in the context of the system. Players need to make plays and on some level it’s lazy to lay this on all coaching. We’re in year three of the Rowe era though and we’re still seeing the same inconsistencies and disorganized sets in crunch time that we saw in years one and two. It’s concerning.


If you guessed that was the number of second chance points UNCW had, then step right up and collect your prize. UNCW dominated near the rim tonight. The Seahawks pulled down 20 offensive rebounds. They drove by JMU defenders all night with ease, attempting 36 layups (and scoring 20 of them). Clinging to a 2 point lead with only seconds to play in OT, four different JMU defenders attempted to slow down UNCW freshman Kai Toews. Four different JMU defenders saw him glide by. Thankfully, he missed the layup, but four different UNCW players crashed the rim and managed to tip it in to force the final OT. And this is no exaggeration. Look at that picture! You can see four Seahawks with position at the rim with a shot to tip it in, while every JMU player remained with his feet firmly on the floor. Yeah, it might have been goaltending, but UNCW deserved the bucket. They certainly looked like they wanted it more. And once again, the play lead to a more talented JMU team losing to a team that was able to do more little things when the game was on the line. It’s the same old story.


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  1. The Fly / Jan 3 2019

    Great analysis, and we definitely saw the same basketball game. I’ll only add that our three conference losses are against teams that currently have an aggregated record of 16-30 and Charleston, Hofstra, and Delaware are still to come. Matt Brady, we barely knew ye.

  2. ShadyP / Jan 4 2019

    Great analysis and that pretty much sums it up. JMU Mens Basketball always seems to find new and interesting ways to lose games they should win. The inconsistency within games is incredibly frustrating to watch.

  3. Jamie Mottram / Jan 4 2019

    Looking at it from the UNCW side (JMU grad living in Wilmington), Kai Toews is nice. He’s gonna have a very good career at the Dub.

  4. J(ersey)MU / Jan 4 2019


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