James Madison will play its first home game in 12 days when it hosts Colonial Athletic Association foe Delaware Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. to open a stretch of five out of the next six games at home. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. but was moved when television coverage was removed.
The Dukes (9-10, 3-3 CAA) are looking to break a two-game losing streak when they host the Blue Hens (8-10, 3-2 CAA), who have also lost consecutive games. During the slump, JMU has averaged 52 points of offense, 13 points below its season average, including a 47-point showing on Saturday at Towson. JMU has scored less than 50 points in just one other game this season, a season-low 44 points against North Dakota State on November 21.
Following a Jan. 2 injury to Andrey Semenov, senior Alioune Diouf's playing time has increased to 22 minutes per game dating back to the January 5 game at Georgia State. Diouf was the only player to reach double figure scoring for the Dukes against Towson, finishing with 11 points to lead the team in scoring for the first time this season.
Freshman guard Ron Curry has been on the court even more. Curry has played less than 30 minutes only once since the turn of the new year, grabbing three rebounds and handing out 2.5 assists in the seven-game stretch since January 1. He scored 11 points last week against George Mason, including a trio of three-pointers.
Semenov's injury has proven costly for the Dukes, who are 5-1 in games in which he was mostly healthy. He has averaged over 12 points per game in the five contests for which he was available from start to finish, but hasn't played since January 2 because of an ankle injury.
JMU will have to contain the league's leading scorer in junior guard Devon Saddler, one of the elite shooters in college basketball. Saddler ranks in the top 20 nationally with 19.7 points per game and adds 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He has shot .500 from the field or better seven times this season, including in three of his past five games. Saddler was held to a season-low 10 points on January 19 against Northeastern, but scored 16, 29, 23 and 27 in the four previous contests.
Saddler's presence in the backcourt is complemented in the front court by double-double machine Jamelle Hagins. He averages 12.6 points per game while ranking second nationally in rebounds (11.7) and fifth in double-doubles (11). Towson's Jerrelle Benimon leads the country in both categories. Hagins also sits 25th nationally with 2.56 blocks per contest.
Jarvis Threatt (12.7 points/game), Kyle Anderson (8.8) and Josh Brinkley (7.8) combine to give Delaware one of the strongest core of five players in the league. However, the Blue Hens have averaged just 11.7 points per game from the remainder of the lineup, including zero points in Saturday's loss to league-leading Northeastern.
Delaware and James Madison allow opponents to shoot nearly identical field percentages. Delaware ranks fifth in the CAA, allowing opponents to shoot .429 from the floor; JMU ranks sixth in the CAA, allowing .431.