After a pair of home wins against conference foes, men's basketball will travel Interstates 81 and 66 to face Colonial Athletic Association rival George Mason Tuesday night at the Patriot Center with television coverage on Comcast SportsNet and CSS.
James Madison (9-8, 3-1 CAA) hasn't seen Colonial-era contemporary George Mason (9-7, 2-2 CAA) since last year's January 28 match in Fairfax, an 89-79 Mason win. In that game, JMU's Humpty Hitchens (27 points) and GMU's Ryan Pearson (29 points) each carried the load for their respective squads.
Last year's game in Fairfax was the second-highest combined score in any CAA game for either team, topped only by an 89-83 Mason win in the Convocation Center just two weeks earlier.
This year, offense seems to be equally likely. Each team has a player in the CAA's top ten scorers' list, as Rayshawn Goins (15.0 ppg) and Sherrod Wright (17.6 ppg) have emerged as versatile offensive threats.
Wright was the only one of the pair to play in last season's Fairfax game. He came off the bench for six points, two rebounds, and two assists.
Goins, a senior forward, leads a dynamic scoring rotation at JMU. He is shooting 50 percent (8-for-16) from behind the arc on the season after making two of his three attempts in Saturday's 51-43 win over Drexel, making him a more legitimate threat from anywhere on the court. Goins' game-high 14 points on Saturday marked the eighth straight game he has reached double-digit scoring. He is averaging 16.8 points over that time frame.
JMU guards Devon Moore and Andre Nation also rank inside the top 30 in the CAA for scoring. Nation is fourth in the conference in steals per game, while Moore leads the conference in assists for game. However, Nation is listed as questionable for the game with an arm injury.
For Mason, junior guard Sherrod Wright is a one-man wrecking crew. He has failed to reach double-digit scoring only twice this season and has scored at least 20 points seven times, including six of his last eight games. He is shooting 51.9 percent from the floor this season.
Mason has feasted on Virginia schools this year, piling up a 4-0 record against teams from its own state. The mark includes recent conference wins against William and Mary and Old Dominion as well as an early win over Virginia.
JMU will be playing for head coach Matt Brady's first win over the Patriots in Fairfax. The Patriots own a 7-1 regular season advantage over Brady's Dukes since the first meeting on January 17, 2009 - a 71-57 win for Mason.