Dukes Stifled

Cavs Smack Madison, 61-41

Posted: November 9, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The shot selection wasn’t good, and even open looks rarely resulted in points. Yes, James Madison anticipated a rough day offensively against No. 24 Virginia, but maybe not this rough.

The Dukes scored the fewest points of sixth-year coach Matt Brady’s tenure and began the men’s college basketball season with a 61-41 loss Friday night to the heavily favored Cavaliers.

“Not exactly what we had hoped in terms of the score, but certainly something we knew that was possible,” Brady said from the John Paul Jones Arena media room after the game. “… They’re outstanding — as good as anybody in the country defensively. It’s very difficult to get penetration of any kind against them.”

Virginia had the fifth-stingiest defense in the country last year, allowing just 55.6 points per game. On Friday, in front of a crowd of 11,934 in the 14,593-seat arena, the Cavaliers limited Madison to a mere 31.3 percent shooting.

During a 6:50 stretch in the first half, JMU went scoreless. Virginia — which was hardly hot itself all game— extended its lead from 17-11 to 30-11 in that time.

“It was just frustrating because we really weren’t executing,” JMU sophomore forward Charles Cooke said. “Some of the plays, we executed really well, but we got wide-open shots and they just didn’t fall. And some other plays, we didn’t execute well and took tough shots. In that seven minutes it was basically a drought. Either it was an open shot that we missed or a bad shot on the offensive end.”

JMU chucked up 25 3-pointers out of 48 total shots. The Dukes hit just six of those deep balls — three coming off the hands of freshman Tom Vodanovich. The forward from New Zealand led the Dukes with 11 points in his first career game. Cooke and sophomore point guard Ron Curry chipped in with nine apiece and lone senior Andrey Semenov had eight.

Semenov, who scored 28 points in an exhibition game last weekend, missed all six of his field-goal attempts in the first half and finished 3-for-12 from the field.

Virginia looked equally disoriented at times in the first half against JMU’s matchup zone defense. Leading returning scorer Joe Harris uncharacteristically missed a pair of open 3-pointers early on, and the Cavaliers struggled to find any continuity, but the Dukes couldn’t capitalize.

“They were unconventional in the way they guarded us,” U.Va. coach Tony Bennett said of JMU’s defense. “Some switching man-to-man, and then it was some zone. They kept changing things up and we couldn’t quite get comfortable. Smart on their part, and then we finally got a beat on it.”

Virginia — now 9-0 all-time against JMU— realized it had a mismatch inside, where JMU has very little experience. Cavs forwards Anthony Gill (in his first game since transferring from South Carolina) and Mike Tobey had five buckets apiece, finishing with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

“Coach stressed getting the ball inside,” Tobey said. “This year we have a really good interior with the addition of Anthony Gill. One of our main strengths is our frontcourt, so we definitely stressed that.”
Said Brady: “I think the difference was their size and strength in the lane.”

That and the scoring woes.

JMU finished the first half with just 14 points and needed some meaningless late-game hoops to get over 40. The Dukes’ 41 total points are their fewest since Jan. 15, 2005, when they scored 40 against Delaware. The previous low in the Brady era was a Nov. 20 game against Murray State when JMU finished with 43.

The Dukes dropped to 1-5 in season openers under Brady — all five losses coming against Top 25 teams. JMU is off until next Friday when it begins a three-game tournament in DeKalb, Ill. Madison will play three lower-level teams, beginning with host Northern Illinois. 

Semenov 3-12 1-2 8, Vodanovich 4-9 0-0 11, Bessick 0-0 0-0 0, Curry 3-7 2-2 9, Cooke 4-8 0-0 9, Kent 1-3 2-2 4, Pierce 0-0 0-0 0, Dalembert 0-3 0-0 0, Lukic 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 15-48 5-6 41.
Gill 5-5 3-5 13, Mitchell 3-7 1-4 7, Anderson 2-6 1-3 5, Harris 2-6 0-0 5, Brogdon 3-6 0-0 9, Frazier 0-0 0-0 0, T. Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Tobey 5-9 0-0 10, Nolte 1-4 0-0 2, Vozenilek 0-0 0-0 0, Perrantes 0-2 2-2 2, Kirven 0-0 0-0 0, Rogers 0-2 0-0 0, Atkins 4-10 0-0 8, J. Jones 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-60 7-14 61.
Halftime—Virginia 32-14. 3-Point Goals—James Madison 6-25 (Vodanovich 3-7, Cooke 1-4, Semenov 1-5, Curry 1-5, Kent 0-1, Lukic 0-3), Virginia 4-18 (Brogdon 3-4, Harris 1-4, Perrantes 0-1, Rogers 0-1, T. Jones 0-1, Nolte 0-3, Anderson 0-4). Fouled Out—Bessick. Rebounds—James Madison 27 (Dalembert 6), Virginia 45 (Atkins 11). Assists—James Madison 8 (Curry 4), Virginia 9 (Mitchell 3). Total Fouls—James Madison 15, Virginia 12. A—11,934.

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