JMU Crushed by Northeastern
In the first game of a crucial two game road trip, JMU came up short at Northeastern. Way short. The Dukes lost to the Huskies by the score of 82-59. Ron Curry paced the squad with 21 points in the loss. A win would have pushed JMU into a 5 way tie for first place in the CAA. Instead, Northeastern took over sole possession of first at 6-1 in league play and 14-6 overall. JMU dropped to 5th place and currently finds itself just a game above .500 in CAA play at 4-3 and 11-9 overall. If you’re a JMU fan, this was one you’d probably like to forget. Here are 3 quick thoughts on the loss.
The Duke Shot Relatively Well…In Garbage Time
This wasn’t like the stinker against Valpo, in which JMU couldn’t buy a bucket. JMU actually shot the ball pretty well. The Dukes shot a respectable 50% in the first half and 44% overall for the game. They even eclipsed the 40% mark from long range. Unfortunately, the majority of JMU’s scoring came in garbage time. Even more unfortunately, garbage time probably started with about 15 minutes to go in the first half. This is basically just a long and convoluted way of saying that this game was over early. Really early.
Northeastern came out of the gates blazing. The Huskies knocked down a ridiculous 8 of 13 three pointers in the first half. Northeastern was out to a double digit lead before most JMU players could even break a sweat. That’s only a slight exaggeration. Not even 10 minutes into the game and JMU found itself down 25-6. Things got worse from there. Northeastern scored 49 points in the first half. Credit to the Huskies for shooting well, but JMU’s poor defense didn’t make it too tough for them. This one was never in doubt. Northeastern simply out-shot, out-rebounded, and out-defended the Dukes. The Huskies won in all phases.
Ron Curry Though
It’s tough to find bright spots in a loss as lopsided as this one. Given that, it would still be hard not to be encouraged by Ron Curry’s performance. After struggling from the field for much of the season, Curry found his touch tonight. The junior guard went 5 for 5 from long range and scored a season high 21 points. We can only hope that something finally clicked and Curry’s strong shooting will continue.
A Chance for Redemption
This is one we just need to forget all about and move on. JMU just got beat. It wasn’t like earlier losses in which ill advised shots, bad decisions, and poor ball control did the Dukes in. They simply came out of the gates slow and let a better team put them away early. That’s definitely not good, but in some ways it’s better than giving away a game they should have or could have won.
It does expose a critical weakness of this team though. The Dukes really struggle to play a full 40 minutes. Often this means that JMU gets off to a slow start. That’s something they can’t afford to do against the top teams in the CAA. There is potential on this roster, but unfortunately there’s a talent gap between JMU and teams such as Northeastern, Hofstra, and William & Mary. It will take a full 40 minute effort from the entire JMU team to beat the CAA’s contenders. Luckily, the Dukes will get a chance to try to bounce back and beat one of those top teams this weekend. JMU travels to Hofstra for a big road game on Saturday. Win it and the Dukes are definitely in the mix. Lose and JMU will be facing an uphill battle from here on out.