Jan 13 / Rob

It Was a Great Weekend for JMU Hoops

The JMU men’s basketball team appeared to be hitting rock bottom after a brutal loss to a struggling UNCW squad that had lost six straight. The fans who hadn’t yet abandoned the squad, were reaching the point of maximum frustration. And then what happened? The Dukes put together one of their most impressive CAA victories of the Lou Rowe era, knocking off a talented College of Charleston team 69-58 that came into the matchup having won its previous ten games. Of course. It was a terrific win, but was it a dead cat bounce or a sign of the Dukes turning the corner?

Well, we still don’t know, but JMU followed the CofC game with a come from behind win over Towson. Make no mistake, Towson is not a top CAA team. They’re more the type of team that JMU cannot afford to lose to if they expect to take another step forward this year under Rowe. Thankfully, the Dukes got it done. But it wasn’t easy. The Dukes were down double digits at one point, before battling back for the 74-65 win. Stuckey Mosley had an uncharacteristic off shooting day, knocking down only one of eight attempts to finish with five points. Matt Lewis and Darius Banks picked up the slack though, finishing with 24 and 22 points respectively. And after not seeing the floor much the past few games, Zach Jacobs made the most of his 24 minutes by blocking a game high six shots. The difference really was free throw shooting though. JMU made 24 of 28, while Towson only took 13 from the stripe, hitting seven.

JMU still has a disturbing habit of playing down to the level of the competition against weaker CAA teams. And they still are plagued by moments where they just stop doing much of anything. They overcame a slow start and some mistakes to escape with the W though. There’s a lot of basketball left to play, but a home loss against a 5 win Towson team would have been pretty devastating. JMU already has a bad loss against last place Elon and really needs to beat the bottom half the of the league and hold serve at home. There still is a way to go with this squad, but winning the games their supposed to win, is a positive sign.

And the JMU women’s team? Yeah, it was a pretty good weekend for the ladies also. The Dukes faced their toughest test of the young CAA season, welcoming a 12 win Northeastern team to the Convo. It had all the makings of a close game between two very talented team. It was not. JMU took the Huskies behind the woodshed and won 84-49. That’s a 35 point win if you do the math. It was borderline obscene. Kamiah Smalls scored in double-digits, because of course she did. She scored 21 in what was her 17th straight game with more than 10 points. But Lexie Barrier was the story, as she dropped a season high 24 points. Overall, JMU shot 53% from the field (and 56% from three point range!), while holding Northeastern to only 29.6% from the floor. That’s filthy. Watch out, because Coach O’s team is starting to round into form.

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