After a week layoff for final exams, the James Madison men's basketball team will wrap up a five-game home stand at the Convocation Center this Sunday afternoon with a 2 p.m. tipoff vs. UNCG.
JMU (3-6) will welcome a familiar face in UNCG (2-5) head coach Wes Miller, one of the youngest coaches in Division I. Miller competed for the Dukes as a freshman during the 2002-03 season before transferring to North Carolina and winning a national championship under Roy Williams. As the team's sixth man at JMU, Miller averaged 4.1 points per game and played in all 30 contests.
The Dukes will be looking for their third win in four games after recent triumphs over East Tennessee State (70-45) and Winthrop (71-61), which were followed by a narrow overtime loss to Richmond (83-82). The Spartans haven't played in two weeks but won their last match 84-54 over the Citadel on December 1.
Senior forward Rayshawn Goins remains JMU's most consistent scoring threat, averaging 13.2 points and seven rebounds per contest. But new threats are beginning to emerge for the Dukes as fifth-year head coach Matt Brady's team inches closer to Colonial Athletic Association play.
Senior guard Devon Moore poured in a game-high 19 points in last weekend's loss to Richmond and is averaging 11.8 points over JMU's last five games. Moore, who broke the 1,000-point career mark last week, sits at 25th all-time on the JMU scoring list with 1,016 points.
Freshman Andre Nation is a top-scoring contributor, averaging 11 points per game and leading the CAA in steals. His 2.6 swipes per game ranks 27th nationally, and he is on pace to shatter the JMU single season record of 63 and the JMU freshman record of 46.
Nation also touts a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio equal to his backcourt teammate Moore, and his 1.6 blocks per game ranks third in the CAA. He is one of only two guards to rank in the top ten for blocks in the CAA, several spots ahead of Georgia State freshman R.J. Hunter.
Also averaging 11 points per game is senior forward Andrey Semenov, who is averaging 13.7 points in his last three games since returning from an injury suffered in the season-opener at UCLA. Semenov scored a season-high 18 last week in the Dukes' loss to Richmond, and has steadily played more minutes in each game since his return.
For the Spartans, versatile junior Trevis Simpson is the featured trigger man. Simpson averages 19.3 points per game, which leads the Southern Conference. Derrell Armstrong is averaging 15 points per game while Kayel Locke gives UNCG three players in double figures with 11.4 per game. Only Simpson is a starter.
UNCG is one of the highest-scoring teams in Division I basketball, scoring just under 80 points per game, but JMU isn't without a noted scoring trend of its own. The Dukes have put up 74.3 points per game in their last three contests, a dramatic uptick after scoring just 55.8 points on average in their previous four.
JMU leads the series 4-0, including claiming three matchups in Harrisonburg. The teams have not met since a 77-64 Dukes' win in the 1999-2000 season opener.