This afternoon, Sunday, October 28, the James Madison Dukes welcomed the Philadelphia University Rams to the Convocation Center for an exhibition matchup. As the Dukes came away with an impressive 77-69 victory, head coach Matt Brady’s club showed many positive and a few negatives signs for the upcoming season.
After losing high-scoring guard, Humpty Hitchens, to graduation, the Dukes are definitely in need of rediscovering an offensive identity. Fortunately for them, they led a very well balanced offensive attack on Sunday. Additionally, the Dukes also exhibited a tremendous balance of senior leadership and productivity with youthful energy and immediate success from a few freshmen.
Specifically, JMU’s two leading scorers, seniors AJ Davis and Rayshawn Goins, led the team in scoring with 17 and 16 points respectively. And, their fantastic efforts were complimented by freshmen Charles Cooke and Ron Curry each scoring 9 points.
Another extreme positive for James Madison was their 40.9 percent team three-point percentage compared to holding their opponents to just 25 percent from three-point land.
But, the team did naturally show some negatives in their first collective appearance on the hardwood. Statistically, the Dukes did not look impressive shooting 55.2 percent from the charity stripe as a team.
Another big issue the team showed was their very slow start. As Philadelphia jumped out to a very quick 7-1 lead, Brady was forced to call a timeout early on. While the Dukes sufficiently responded with a 12-5 run, it won’t be as easy to jumpstart their offense against their prestigious non-conference and talented Colonial Athletic Association foes.
The Dukes must improve these deficiencies before they open the regular season on November 15 against UCLA in California. If they can, a special season might be in the making in Virginia.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.