Previewing @Towson_MBB at JMU
Courtesy: Mat Schlissel, TowsonTigers.com  
Release: 02/12/2013
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On January 19, Towson (14-12, 9-4 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)) defeated James Madison at home, 73-47, led by five players in double figures. The Dukes will try to return the favor on Tuesday night when they take on the Tigers in the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, Va. at 7 p.m.

Since the game in Towson, the Dukes (14-12, 8-5 CAA) won four straight before losing to George Mason on Feb. 2, 74-63. They came back to defeat William & Mary on Feb. 6, 81-71. On Sunday, Feb. 10, JMU fell to Drexel in Philadelphia, 60-48.

Even after the Tigers' victory last month, the Dukes still have the lead in the series, 26-11. Towson has not swept James Madison since the 2006-07 season when the Tigers won 69-60 in Harrisonburg and 76-62 at the Towson Center.
 
Why are the Dukes playing better basketball lately? Part of the reason is the return of freshman guard Charles Cooke (6-6, 185), who had fractured his wrist. Cooke has averaged 10.8 points per game (ppg) in the last four contests, including a career-high 16 points against Drexel, playing with a soft cast on his wrist.
 
The Dukes are still missing senior Andrey Semenov (10 ppg), who has been battling an ankle injury and could return before the CAA Tournament in March. Semenov scored 29 points against the Tigers in two games last year.
 
But this is a very deep team with a starting lineup that features three freshmen and two seniors.
 
James Madison averages 64.4 points per game and surrenders 64.1 points per game. The Dukes shoot 41.7 percent from the floor and allow opponents to shoot 42.3 percent. They get out-rebounded by one rebound per game. JMU turns it over just 11.8 times per game and force 14.5 turnovers per game. They shoot 33 precent from 3-point range and their opponents shoot 36 percent.
 
The Dukes are led by one of the best guards in the league in redshirt senior Devon Moore (6-4, 180) who averages 11 ppg and shoots 49 precent from the field and 39.5 percent from beyond the arc. He leads the team with 112 assists (4.5 per game) and is second in steals with 32. Moore is just 21 assists away from the JMU record of 463 held by Pierre Custis.
 
Freshman guard Andre Nation (6-4, 190) averages nine points per game and shoots 37 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc. He also leads the team with 30 blocks.
 
Cooke (6-6, 185) is a lanky wing who averages 5.8 ppg and shoots 43 percent from the field and 33 percent from the 3-point line.

Madison's deep bench in the backcourt is led by another freshman guard in Ron Curry (6-3, 185), who adds 6.2 ppg, while shooting 33 percent from the field and 26 percent from beyond the arc.

Senior wing Alioune Diouf (6-5, 215) adds toughness, experience and defense off the bench. He led the Dukes with 11 points against the Tigers in their first meeting this season. He averages 4.6 ppg and 3.6 rpg, while shooting 39 percent from the field and 23 percent from the the 3-point line. He also averages 20 minutes per game.

Up front, the Dukes are led by another freshman in Taylor Bessick (6-9, 215). Bessick averages just 12 minutes per game and and gives the team some length up front. He averages 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game while blocking 14 shots.
 
Redshirt senior Rashawn Goins (6-6, 275) is the key to the Dukes' success up front. The Cincinnati State transfer averages 13.7 ppg to lead the team and a team-leading 7.7 rebounds per game. Goins shoots 44 percent from the field and an impressive 43.3 percent (13-of-30) from beyond the arc.
 
Redshirt senior A.J. Davis (6-6, 210) averages nine points per game and shoots 42 percent from the field. Sophomore Enoch Hood (6-8, 210) adds 3.5 ppg.

Towson has five games left and needs to win two more games to break the 16-year streak of losing seasons. Catch the game on the Towson Sports Network, CSN-MA+ and check out my blog at Towson Tigers.com.


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