James Madison men’s basketball is set for its second straight road conference game as it prepares to take on the College of Charleston on Tuesday at 7 p.m. as the opponent for the Cougars’ first-ever Colonial Athletic Association game in a battle of two teams with matching three-game winning streaks.
The game will be televised on CSS in the Southeastern United States and will have free video available from Charleston.
JMU is playing its best basketball of the season, as evidenced by the team’s current winning streak, which includes a 60-55 win at UNCW in its CAA opener on Saturday. The Dukes jumped out to a 16-4 lead and never trailed in the win, improving to 6-9 on the season.
Sophomore guard Charles Cooke has paved the way for JMU’s recent success, reaching 20 points in five of the last eight games. He came up just short of a double-double in the win over UNCW with 24 points and nine rebounds, each one shy of career highs.
The Dukes have received solid contributions from numerous players over the past three games. Graduate forward Andrey Semenov and sophomore guard Ron Curry have each scored in double figures in two of the past three games. In the conference opener, sophomore forward Taylor Bessick stepped up with nine rebounds and six points, while freshman guard Jackson Kent came through with nine points and six rebounds.
JMU will have another player looking to join that group of contributors as sophomore guard Andre Nation will make his season debut against Charleston following a 15-game suspension to open the season. Nation played a key role in the Dukes postseason run last year, including 10 points, four rebounds and two blocks and three steals in a win over Northeastern in the CAA Championship game. He followed that up with 14 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and four assists in a NCAA First Four win over LIU Brooklyn and a career-high 24 points in a loss to top-seeded Indiana in the in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Charleston is coming off non-conference wins over The Citadel, Davidson and Howard to improve to 8-7 overall. The Cougars are led by Willis Hall, who averages just shy of a double-double at 11.9 ppg and 9.7 rpg. They use a balanced attack offensively with four players averaging at least nine points. However, freshman Canyon Barry is reportedly out with a finger injury. He ranks fourth overall for the Cougars and third among CAA freshmen averaging 9.4 points per game.
The contest marks the second road game to open conference play for JMU and the 14th game away from the JMU Convocation Center this season in 16 games. Following the game at Charleston, the Dukes will host CAA opponents Delaware on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Northeastern on Wednesday, Jan. 15.