James Madison men’s basketball will play at the JMU Convocation Center for just the third time in the team’s first 17 games as it continues Colonial Athletic Association play against Delaware on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The game will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Philadelphia and New England along with Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and SportsNet New York (SNY). Due to CAA TV contractual terms, JMU’s free online broadcast of MadiZONE HD SportsNet presented by the JMU Alumni Association as well as the CAA’s digital simulcast on CAA.TV will both be unavailable within subscription areas of those TV networks (online blackout map).
The Dukes dropped to 6-10 overall and 1-1 in the CAA with a 75-61 loss to the College of Charleston on Tuesday, halting a three-game winning streak. With the score tied 49-49, the Cougars pulled away with a 12-0 run to win their fourth-straight game and first conference game as a member of the CAA.
Despite the loss, JMU received yet another solid performance from sophomore guard Charles Cooke, who finished with 21 points and six rebounds. Cooke has scored at least 20 points in six of his last nine games and ranks eighth in the CAA in scoring with 16 ppg.
With his 19 points against the Cougars, graduate forward Andrey Semenov moved into 23rd at JMU in career points with 1,057. He also jumped into the top 10 with 117 career games played. He will be honored pregame for his achievement of 1,000 career points.
For the second straight game JMU will play a conference opponent riding a three-game winning streak. Following home wins over Liberty and Cal Poly, Delaware opened CAA play with an 86-79 home win over Hofstra on Wednesday. Senior guard Devon Saddler and junior guard Jarvis Threatt paced the Blue Hens with 24 and 20 points, respectively.
Saddler (20.8 ppg) and Threatt (18.0 ppg) are the top two scorers for a Delaware team that is easily the top scoring offense in the conference at 81.4 ppg, over seven points per game more than second-ranked William and Mary. Threatt ranks third in the conference in scoring, while Saddler does not yet qualify with nine games played. The Blue Hens have five players that average double figures, including senior guard Davon Usher, who is third on the team with 17.2 ppg.
JMU counters with the third-best scoring defense in the conference. The Dukes allow just 68.1 ppg, compared to the Blue Hens’ defensive scoring average of 78.9 ppg, the highest of any team in the CAA.
Saturday’s game marks the 21st meeting in the all-time series between JMU and Delaware. The Blue Hens hold a 12-8 advantage, but the Dukes are 5-2 in the series under Matt Brady and won all three meetings last season, including a 58-57 victory in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament. The Dukes went on to win the conference title to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to Semenov’s pregame ceremony, new JMU football head coach Everett Withers will be introduced briefly during a first half timeout.