Dukes Stun Delaware at Buzzer!
Men’s hoops wins in the last 15 years don’t get much better than last night’s stunning, buzzer-beating alley-oop win at Delaware. And beyond the thrilling win on its own, there’s almost no way to overstate what the win means for the season and how it sets up an exciting stretch run for the Dukes (side note: hard to believe I just typed “sets up an exciting stretch run” about this team!). People were so excited that our friends over at Mister Irrelevant even threw JMU their own post today. We’d also heard rumors this was on SportsCenter in many markets under the sidebar heading (and misnomer when it involves two large state universities) “small-school buzzer-beaters.”
Here are the highlights. THE highlight is around the 2:00 mark:
JMU “Nation” takes on a whole new meaning and the difference between 16-12, 10-5 CAA and 15-13, 9-6 is enormous. With three games to play, the Dukes have assured themselves a winning record overall and in the conference. The sweep of Delaware also pulled them away from one of their closest competitors in the morass that is the race for the 2 seed in the CAA tourney. And don’t look now, but the Dukes are only two games back with three to play from CAA-leading Northeastern. And guess who they play on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet?! That would narrow the gap to one game with only a home rematch against fake GSU and a road game at W&M to finish while Northeastern still has to travel all the way to Atlanta for a tough game before finishing at home against ODU. Not that crazy. In any case, a 2 seed matchup with struggling Hofstra to start the tourney is a lot more favorable than possibly playing Drexel or GMCC or even W&M to start. Not to mention one Andrey Semenov may be back soon!
A few quick notes on the game: First, somebody tell the training staff to lay off mixing Ambien with the Gatorade before games and at halftime. The first five minutes of each half have become consistently atrocious for the Dukes. They combined to go 0-16 from the floor to start the two halves last night and dug themselves a huge hole to climb out of. Of course, climbing out of that hole seems to happen rather quickly when AJ Davis enters the game these days. He’s playing unbelievably well and while still out of position occasionally on D, the effort is there on both ends. As much as we love the stability Bessick’s presence has given to the starting lineup, when he’s catching the ball at the top of the key in the offense, it just stalls everything out and allows the defense to sag into the lane on Goins and to defend against Devon Moore’s drives.
Speaking of Devon Moore, he is playing at a CAA POY level right now. That wasn’t a misprint or an overstatement. When he shoots reasonably well like he did last night, he is simply unguardable in this league. He’s too tall and too quick for guards in this league and his passing and court awareness make everyone better. He is a CAA version of Rondo or Wall and we’d love to see him take over the Richmond Mausoleum in a couple of weeks!
Lastly, this is anecdotal, but the social media explosion last night suggests the buzz around this team is growing both on and off campus. Part of that has to be based in consistent television availability. Credit where it’s due to the CAA for making the deal with NBCSN that seems to have led to Comcast slots as well. (That said, some decision-makers “might” look at this and say “you know what, even in the smaller, non-BCS conferences, consistent television coverage raises the university’s profile and engages alumni and supporters”)
And here’s an incredible still shot of the moment from the crowd! (full credit to @Max_Goldstein04 and thanks for getting that out to JMU Nation so fast)