With 10 games complete in the 16-game Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball race, James Madison will match up with the final team it has yet to face with a 7 p.m. home game Monday night against Hofstra at the Convocation Center.
It will be the seventh televised contest among JMU’s first 11 CAA games with coverage on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Philadelphia along with SportsNet New York (SNY).
JMU (8-16, 3-7 CAA) takes the court with a three-game CAA skid, including the last two in which significant scoring runs separated an otherwise evenly played contest. On Tuesday, Towson used a 17-2 run late in the first half to take charge, and on Saturday it was a 21-4 Drexel run early in the second half that proved to be the difference.
Charles Cooke tallied 18 points in the Drexel loss while Ron Curry added 17, but the Dukes could not overcome 26 points from sixth-year senior guard Chris Fouch, including 19 in the second half. Fouch and the Dragons pulled away from a 39-38 score early in the second half with the 21-4 run and went on to post the 78-60 victory.
Graduate forward Andrey Semenov tallied 12 points in the loss for JMU and moved into the top 20 in school history with 1,129 points. Against Hofstra on Monday, Semenov will tie Pierre Curtis as the program’s all-time leader in games played with 126.
On Saturday, Hofstra (8-17, 4-6 CAA) trailed UNCW at home by as many as 15 points with under 15 minutes remaining before taking over momentum. HU outscored UNCW 40-17 in the second half and turned that 15-point deficit into a nine-point win with a 61-52 triumph. Newcomer Zeke Upshaw led the Pride with 16 points while Jordan Allen added 15 and nine rebounds and Dion Nesmith contributed 13 points, five assists and four steals.
In Joe Mihalich’s first season at the helm in Hempstead, the Pride opened the league slate at 3-2 before dropping five games in a row prior to Saturday’s win. Upshaw has led Hofstra with 18.8 points per game while Nesmith averages 13.2. Stephen Nwaukoni leads on the glass with 8.5 boards per game to go with his 6.4 points.
The teams met just once last year with JMU grabbing the 62-41 home win in the Convo on Jan. 31. Rayshawn Goins led all players with 16 points and seven rebounds. Current sophomores Andre Nation and Charles Cooke each had 13 points. Only players who accounted for 10 points for the Pride in last year’s team reside on the current roster.