After a lengthy holiday layoff with nine days in between games, a well-rested James Madison is primed to enter Colonial Athletic Association conference play. JMU will play its first CAA game of the season on January 2, 2013 against in-state rival Old Dominion.
As a program, JMU (6-6) hasn't held a winning record since January 2011, but the Dukes enter conference play as the hottest team in the CAA. The team posted a 5-1 record in the month of December, including three wins by double digits. The lone loss came on December 8, when the Dukes dropped a one-point home heartbreaker in overtime to Richmond (83-82).
Now, JMU can reach a 7-6 record by defeating the Monarchs. ODU (2-11, 0-1) has won seven straight regular-season contests (eight overall) against the Dukes, dating back to an 80-74 win on January 28, 2008.
JMU's last win against the Monarchs came in Norfolk just weeks earlier, on January 7, 2008. Head coach Matt Brady is 1-8 against the Monarchs, including one matchup in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Still leading the way for the Dukes is redshirt senior low post man Rayshawn Goins. Goins averages 14.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories. He was one rebound shy of his third double-double of the season in a December 22 win over San Jose State University, netting 13 points and collecting nine rebounds.
The JMU backcourt has excelled thanks to the play of senior guard Devon Moore. Moore scored 10 points or more only twice in the first six games of the season but averaged just under 13 points per game over the course of JMU's December run.
Moore has handed out five or more assists in nine of JMU's 12 games this season, including a six-game stretch from November 28 to December 22.
The Monarchs are led by their senior, 6'9" center, DeShawn Painter. Painter averages 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and scored at least 11 in each of his last five games. He has recorded four double-doubles this season.
ODU is currently the only team to have lost a CAA conference game, dropping a 71-62 decision at William and Mary on December 1. The Monarchs broke a nine-game losing streak on December 22, when they edge out Virginia 63-61 in the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic at the Richmond Coliseum.