The James Madison men’s basketball team will head to Nacogdoches, Texas this weekend to play in the E-Tech Lumberjack Classic, hosted by Stephen F. Austin. The Dukes will be playing Sam Houston State on Friday at 7 p.m. and Stephen F. Austin Saturday at 9:15 p.m.
Saturday’s game will also be televised on Comcast SportsNet on its Mid-Atlantic and Houston networks. There will be no viewing options for Friday's game vs. SHSU.
JMU (2-6) will be headed into the tournament following a 68-53 loss to Richmond on November 30th. The Spiders took the early lead in both halves, using a 9-0 run to get ahead 11-2 at the start. With the Dukes down 35-25 at the break, Richmond had another 7-0 just two minutes into the second half. JMU was unable to break the deficit for the remainder of the game, losing its fourth straight.
With the absence of graduate forward Andrey Semenov, sophomores Charles Cooke and Ron Curry accounted for 57 percent of the team’s scoring last week against Winthrop and Richmond. Cooke posted 12 points against Winthrop and a career-high 20 against Richmond. Curry was not far behind, with 16 and 15 points, respectively, against the two teams.
Sam Houston State (5-3) will face JMU for the first time following its 62-58 loss to Liberty in the Corpus Christi Islander Classic. With the Bearkats leading the first half, Liberty came back from being down by nine to pull away with the win. Senior forward James Thomas led the team with 10 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Paul Baxter added nine points for Sam Houston. Junior center Michael Holyfield and senior forward Terrance Motley each contributed eight points as well.
Stephen F. Austin (6-2) will take on the Dukes following a 71-68 win against High Point. With the game tied at 62 with just over two minutes remaining, senior Nikola Gajic scored on a layup and went 3-for-4 at the free-throw line. Senior Desmond Haymon also had key plays down the stretch, adding four points of his own from the charity stripe. Senior Deshaunt Walker led the Jacks with a team-high 14 points off the bench. Gajic also scored in double-figures, putting up 12 points, while junior Jacob Parker added 10 more.
The only time JMU faced Stephen. F. Austin was in 1987 in the first round of the NIT Tournament, where the Dukes fell to the Lumberjacks 70-63.
Following the E-Tech Lumberjack Classic, James Madison will travel to High Point to face the Panthers on December 14th at 7 p.m.