Feb 15 / Rob

JMU Wins, But It Is Never Easy With These Dukes

Well, that was much closer than it had to be. JMU defeated Drexel by the score of 71-69. For most of the game, the Dukes were in control. But then, stop me if you’ve heard this before, JMU just kind of fell asleep and managed to let Drexel go on a 7-0 run in the final minutes to make it a one point game in the closing seconds. Drexel even had a chance to tie or win the game on the final possession, but the Dukes swatted away the inbound and secured the W. Drexel isn’t a terrific team, but it’s still a good win. The good thing about being in last place is that any league win is a win over a team ahead of you. (How’s that for spin?) Here are a few quick thoughts on JMU’s fourth CAA win of the season.

Dwight Wilson = Beast Mode

Mr. Wilson ain’t Devontae Cacok, but he sure played like him this game. The big man was all over. He finished the game with 20 points and 18 rebounds. He was a man amongst boys out there. Wilson has show flashes this year, but probably has been somewhat overshadowed by his classmates Darius Banks and Matt Lewis. In this game however, there was no ignoring him. He absolutely owned the paint. Just a great all around performance.

System (from the past) of the Future?

Much of today’s game of basketball is all about bombing from long distance, but the Dukes played an old school game against Drexel. Fewer 3s and more shots pounding it down low and trying to score in the paint. JMU launched only 12 three point attempts. Instead of looking (or settling) for long range shots, the Dukes attacked the basket and feed the big men down low. It was the right approach and it paid off to the tune of 46 points in the paint.

Stuckey Mosley will be missed next year after he graduates. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s also kind of fun to imagine what the offense might look like after his departure. The Dukes used him on 31% of plays against the Dragons. Nobody else on the team had a Use % above 20%. It makes sense to run more plays for or through your best player. But for one of the few times in the Lou Rowe era, it looked like the Dukes were employing a system built around the talents of its personnel. And if they actually can come to rely on a post-Mosley system that splits the load a little more evenly between Banks, Lewis, & Wilson, the Dukes could be effective. Add a spot up shooter to open things up and stretch the D and this team could be dangerous. They don’t have a roster full of sharpshooters. They’ve got athletic guys who can get to the paint and some big bodies who can finish. It was nice to see a gameplan built around that.

4 CAA Wins is 4 CAA Wins, but…

As disappointed in the lack of wins as anyone, but let’s at least try to look for a silver lining. The announcers tonight noted that JMU is the second youngest team in the league. We all see the talent in the sophomore class, and thought it would translate into more wins this year. It hasn’t, but let’s not lose hope. The CAA is a mid-major (low mid major?) league. There are no blue chip one-and-doners who come in and carry teams to championships. Often it takes a few years for mid-major guys to find their stride and help translate talent into wins. Yes, we all wanted and expected more wins, but thinking about a team built around Matt Lewis, Darius Banks, and Dwight Wilson, with guys like Deshon Parker, Zach Jacobs, and (hopefully) a few sharpshooting recruits, does not suck. Provided Rowe implements a system and an approach that suits them of course.

2 Comments

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  1. Hittie / Feb 15 2019

    JMUSB – thanks so much for your passion to JMU and Athletics. You two keep a lot of us fans connected to the program via the blog, social media and the podcasts, and your labor of love pays off for the rest of us. I have especially enjoyed your guests/coaches on the pods this month – it’s so cool to have that access. Kudos to our coaches, and kudos to you guys for giving us a glimpse inside the programs. While Football and basketball probably drive the biggest general fan interest, you guys remind us that there is a much bigger picture and the success of ALL of the programs combined is special to JMU. Just a sincerest thank you for all you guys do. Go Dukes.

  2. Rob / Feb 19 2019

    Really appreciate you saying that Hittie. It means a lot. Like Todd and I have always said, one of the best things about doing this has been how it’s given a chance to meet new people and make new friends.

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