JMU Gets Boost
Semenov Returns To Spark Dukes, But Davis Suspended
Posted: December 3, 2012
JMU’s Enoch Hood shoots over Winthrop’s James Bourne on Saturday in Harrisonburg. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
The swap worked Saturday, as forward Andrey Semenov — out since the season-opener with a groin injury — opened up JMU’s offense with 17 points in 19 minutes to help the Dukes beat Winthrop 71-61.
But not all is rosy for Madison, which was without talented swingman A.J. Davis., whom Brady booted from the team indefinitely for, what the coach said in a pre-game press release, was “a violation of team standards.”
In Saturday’s post-game press conference, Brady added little clarity to the vague suspension.
“I met with him Thursday morning and told him that, for right now, we’re not going to practice or play in a game,” Brady said of Davis, who led the team in scoring last season but struggled this year and entered the coach’s doghouse during the team’s fourth game of the year, when he missed defensive assignments and then, according to Brady, did not properly communicate with the coach. “I’m going to meet with him again here in the next 24 hours, and we’ll have another conversation, and that really is as much as I’m going to talk about that.”
Asked for a possible timetable on Davis’ return, Brady said it is contingent on what happens in their upcoming meeting.
“A lot of it comes down to our conversation, naturally. That’s all I’m going to say about that,” he said.
Without Davis and freshman guard Ron Curry, who hurt his head in practice last week and was held out by doctors, JMU shot a season-best 46 percent and snapped a three-game losing skid to move to 2-5.
The win came against JMU’s weakest opponent — the Eagles (2-4) have yet to defeat a Division I team this season — but was encouraging for the Dukes because of how effective Semenov was in limited time.
Twelve seconds after entering the game off the bench, Semenov nailed a 3-pointer to put JMU ahead 6-0. He made three of eight treys and was 6-of-11 overall from the field. Just as importantly, he afforded JMU post player Rayshawn Goins some operating room en route to a team-best 19 points.
“When you’ve got a pick-and-pop 4-man that can shoot the ball, they gotta play him honest and they can’t pack it in on me in the post,” Goins said. “After he hit his first shot, I knew he was gonna kind of get rolling.”
Semenov said after the game that he felt “rusty,” and “out of shape,” but looked active and healthy on the court.
“It’s gonna take me a couple weeks to get my wind back,” Semenov said. “I only played 20 minutes, and if I played a little more I would be less effective. So I need to get my wind back, get maybe 10 practices in and I’ll be back where everybody else is.”
The game’s first 18 points came via 3-pointers — three apiece for JMU and Winthrop — and it took 10 minutes, 44 seconds for the Dukes to make a 2-point field goal, a one-handed shot by Goins.
Diminutive point guard Andre Smith doubled his career high with 26 points for Winthrop, which went on a 9-0 run early in the first half to go up 18-11. After JMU regained the lead at 25-24 on a Semenov layup, the Dukes never trailed again.
Madison went into intermission with a 34-28 lead, which was its first halftime advantage all season.
“I think this is a step in the right direction in a lot of ways,” Brady said of the win. “There’s certainly a number of things we can get better at. Our guys know we didn’t play great, but we played, I thought, with enough energy.”
There certainly wasn’t much energy at the Convocation Center. Even with students in town and a 4 p.m. start time on a Saturday, the game drew a sparse crowd at the 7,156-seat arena: 3,021, according to JMU.
The Dukes stretched their lead to 20 on two free throws by Alioune Diouf with nine minutes left in the second half. Winthrop battled back to cut its deficit to eight, but had already dug itself too deep a hole. Both teams committed 19 turnovers in what was, at times, a sloppy game.
Semenov criticized himself for loose shot selection and other poor decisions, but Brady was certainly pleased to have the 6-foot-7 Russian back in the rotation.
“Obviously, he has a terrific impact on the game,” Brady said. “He stretches the defense, he can obviously make shots, he’s good defensively, he can switch a lot of screens. There’s a lot that he can do. Look, he’s a really good basketball player. And we’re a better basketball team having him.”
Are they a better basketball team without Davis? Certainly Madison could use all the firepower it can get. The Dukes are best when their preseason second-team selection is playing committed basketball, and Brady is apparently trying to gauge if he can get Davis to do just that.
Goins wouldn’t comment on what his reaction to the suspension was, but said the team is moving forward, with or without Davis.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to go with what we’ve got,” Goins said. “We can’t worry about everything that’s going on. We’ve got to go with what we’ve got and try to get as many wins as possible.”
Jerome 3-3 0-1 6, Bourne 1-3 2-2 4, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 8-13 6-7 26, Henry 3-12 2-2 9, Gamble 6-11 0-0 13, Diop 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Prescott 0-0 0-0 0, Farmer 1-7 0-0 3. Totals 22-52 10-12 61.
Diouf 1-5 2-2 5, Goins 6-9 7-9 19, Cooke 2-6 4-5 8, Nation 3-11 2-4 9, Moore 4-6 1-2 9, Hood 0-1 2-2 2, Semenov 6-11 2-2 17, Bessick 1-1 0-0 2, Marks 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-50 20-26 71.
Halftime—James Madison 34-28. 3-Point Goals—Winthrop 7-21 (Smith 4-6, Gamble 1-3, Henry 1-5, Farmer 1-7), James Madison 5-19 (Semenov 3-8, Diouf 1-2, Nation 1-5, Goins 0-1, Moore 0-1, Cooke 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Winthrop 31 (Brown, Smith 5), James Madison 32 (Goins 8). Assists—Winthrop 7 (Henry, Jerome 2), James Madison 15 (Nation 6). Total Fouls—Winthrop 20, James Madison 12. Technical—Winthrop Bench. A—3,021.