James Madison men’s basketball looks to continue its recent winning ways as it opens Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play at UNCW on Saturday at 7 p.m. It will be the first conference game of the season for any league member.
The Dukes enter the game with a record of 5-9 after claiming three wins in their last four games and winning back-to-back games for the first time this season, while the Seahawks come in at 6-9 following four straight losses.
JMU is coming off a 73-68 win over Ball State in its second home game of the season. Sophomore guard Charles Cooke led the Dukes to their third win in four games with 20 points, six steals and four assists. It was the fourth 20-point outing for Cooke in the last seven games to go with JMU’s highest player steals mark in eight years.
Sophomore guard Ron Curry also continued his streak of quality play with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. Graduate forward Andrey Semenov added 16 points while climbing into the top 25 in scoring in program history.
UNCW wrapped up conference play with an 84-51 loss to No. 19 North Carolina on New Year’s Eve. Junior forward Cedrick Williams led the Seahawks with 18 points, including 12 in the first half, as they trailed by eight points at the break. The Tar Heels pulled away with a 53-28 advantage in the second half.
Saturday’s game marks the 65th meeting between the two teams with UNCW holding a 33-31 advantage in the all-time series. JMU won both contests last season and is 6-2 against the Seahawks under Matt Brady for the coach’s best mark against any CAA school.
JMU, the defending champion in the CAA, was picked to finish seventh in the conference’s preseason poll. UNCW was slotted one spot behind at eighth. The matchup between the two starts a 16-game conference slate for both teams.