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Wofford @ James Madison

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:55 am
by BestOfBreed ... 482&CHID=3

Wofford Rolls Into Convo Posted 2006-11-25
By Dustin Dopirak

HARRISONBURG — The problem with James Madison’s defense, players say, has nothing to do with the scheme and little to do with inexperience.

Instead, they say, the Dukes are not completing the most basic objective of basketball defense: Stop the man with the ball from getting past you.

"We know the principles, but to be honest, defense is just your will against theirs," freshman point guard Pierre Curtis said after practice Friday. "You’ve got to have it in your mind that that man’s not going to score or make it as hard as you can for him to score. There’s not much you can really do. Coach already put the principles in our head. That’s all he can do. The rest is on us."

So far, they admittedly haven’t held up their end of the bargain.

Heading into today’s 2 p.m. game against Wofford (4-1) at the Convocation Center, the Dukes (1-2) have allowed 86.3 points per game, second-worst in the Colonial Athletic Association. Teams are shooting a robust 45.7 percent against them, a stat that would be worse if not for Virginia Military Institute’s shoot-when-you-see-the-white-of-the-net philosophy.

Those statistics might not be quite as disconcerting if Madison wasn’t coming off a season in which it ranked dead last in the CAA in both scoring defense (77.7 points per game) and field-goal percentage defense (48.3).

"We’ve just got to get the point across of being a better defensive team," JMU coach Dean Keener said. "It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. Our transition defense has to be better. Our half-court man has to be better, and so do our zones, any zone that we’re running."

And unless they improve in a hurry, they’re probably going to have a tough time getting past the potent Terriers, whose only loss so far was against Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina State. They’re averaging 86.2 points per game while making 46 percent of their field goals.

Wofford, 11-18 last season, may have notched the biggest win in school history Tuesday, beating Cincinnati on the road 91-90 when junior guard Shane Nichols hit one of two free throws with 5.2 seconds left.

"It’s obviously a significant win for us," said fifth-year Wofford coach Michael Young, an Emory & Henry graduate and Radford native who has a 52-68 record at the Southern Conference school. "That’s one of the most storied programs of the last 10 or 15 years, and even though this might not be one of the great Bearcat teams of previous years, but they’ve still got some big bodies and some athletic kids, so it’s a nice feather in our cap."

And they got it without their starting point guard, Drew Gibson, who missed the game with a hamstring injury after averaging 17.3 points and 7.0 assists in Wofford’s first four games.

Young said Gibson has returned to practice and will play today, joining Nichols and senior guard Eric Marshall in Wofford’s stellar backcourt. Nichols leads the team with 18.8 points per game, scoring 20 against the Bearcats. Marshall rose to second on the squad with 18.0 points per game after leading Wofford with 27 against Cincinnati.

"They’re extremely key," Keener said. "Their perimeter guys are veterans. They’ve been through the wars. I don’t think a whole lot will rattle them and they play with a lot of confidence."

Senior forward Matt O’Connor, who averages 10.8 points per game, gives the Terriers four players in the starting lineup who are comfortable shooting from behind the arc, which is something they do often. Though Wofford doesn’t jack it up at quite the rate that VMI does — the Keydets shoot an eye-popping 47.3 3’s per game — the 27.6 3-point attempts the Terriers average is still relatively high, and they’re hitting 36.2 percent of those. They made 12 of 24 against Cincinnati.

Wofford also plays a fast-paced game without going out of control. It averages 86.2 points and a modest 13.2 turnovers per game. The Dukes, meanwhile, average 22.3 turnovers.

"They’re the best team that we’ve played," Keener said. "And what I mean by that is, watching film of them, they look like a team that’s playing in early to mid-January. They have great ball reversal. They share the ball, and that’s what I mean by the best team. They really understand how they want to play."

The Dukes say they understand how they want to play, it’s just a matter of doing it.

Said Keener: "The game will be won or lost for us on the defensive end."

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:29 pm
by Eyes of Old Main
It sure is nice get some "pre-game respect" from the other side. Hopefully, the Terriers will make it well-deserved this afternoon.

I sure do like this year's schedule with teams like James Madsion and Jacksonville State on it. I like playing some non-conference games against schools more our level instead of all money games and D-II's.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:23 pm
by BestOfBreed
Terriers trail 15-14 - 11:38 to go in the 1st half.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:36 pm
by BestOfBreed
Terriers trail 31-28 - just over 5 minutes until the half.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:43 pm
by BestOfBreed
Wofford trail by 2 with 2:35 to go before the half.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:48 pm
by BestOfBreed
Wofford leads 39-38 at the half.

Terriers turning the ball over like crazy.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:20 pm
by BestOfBreed
Wofford trails by 8. :cry:

11:59 to go.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:31 pm
by BestOfBreed
Terriers down 12. They've got 3 2nd half FGs. 8:38 to go.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:34 pm
by BestOfBreed
Woffords trails 64-54 with 7:18 to go

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:36 pm
C'mon terriers!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:36 pm
by GoldandBlack
Looks like an emotional let-down, at least so far.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:37 pm
by BestOfBreed
Wofford trails by 4!!!!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:39 pm
by BestOfBreed
Wofford down by 8 :(

4:28 to go

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:40 pm
by BestOfBreed
Not looking good at this point.

In less than a week the Terriers have gone from a SoCon frontrunner back to the cellar :(

JMU is a very, very, very bad team.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:50 pm
by GoldandBlack
0:33 to go, down by 2, James Madison with the ball.

Is this going to be that kind of year?

I don't know if I can stand it or not.