James Madison men’s basketball will travel to Newark, Delaware to play its third game in five days and take on the first-place Blue Hens as it continues Colonial Athletic Association play on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Bob Carpenter Center.
In their last outing, the Dukes snapped a three-game losing streak with a 59-53 victory over Hofstra in the JMU Convocation Center to improve to 9-16 overall and 4-7 within the CAA. Madison went into the break following a 17-5 run to claim the 34-24 advantage going into the second half. JMU continued their momentum once play resumed and built a 17-point lead, its largest of the season. Hofstra responded by going 18-0 to give the Pride their first lead in 19 minutes. Sophomore guard Ron Curry broke JMU’s seven and a half scoreless minutes with a layup and put the Dukes back on top for the remainder of the game.
Curry led JMU in the matchup, collecting 20 points and six assists. Fellow sophomore guards Charles Cooke and Andre Nation aided in the victory by reaching double-figures as Cooke contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals, and Nation added 13 points, four boards and three steals.
While JMU is playing for the third time in five days, Delaware will be playing for the first time in a week. In its last outing on Feb. 5, Delaware (18-7, 10-0 CAA) collected its 12th win in a row after defeating the College of Charleston 67-64. The Blue Hens fought back from a 20-point deficit in the final nine minutes of the game to claim the victory, largely due to a 42-point effort by Davon Usher, 30 of which came in the game’s second half. The senior guard also added seven steals and four rebounds to his performance that earned him CAA Player of the Week and NCAA.com Top Performer honors. Fellow senior guard Devon Saddler added 17 points as only two other Blue Hens scored in the game.
When the two teams faced each other earlier in January, Delaware pulled away with the 78-74 win. With JMU up by two at the break and continuing to take control in the second half, the Blue Hens surged on a 9-2 run that started with a layup by Saddler to claim the lead for good. The Dukes had five players reach double-digits in the game in Curry, Cooke, Nation, Andrey Semenov and Taylor Bessick. Saddler and Usher led Delaware, with 25 and 21 points, respectively, while junior guard Jarvis Threatt added an additional 16.
This will be a matchup of strong offense versus strong defense, as Delaware is currently ranked first in scoring offense and James Madison is ranked second in scoring defense in the conference. The game will also feature two of the top ten scorers within the CAA with Usher ranked second for Delaware and Cooke ranked ninth for JMU.
Following their game against Delaware, the Dukes will return home to face UNCW in the JMU Convocation Center on Saturday, February 15th at noon.