Madison Still Hot
Dukes Beat Hofstra, 62-41
Posted: February 1, 2013
HARRISONBURG — James Madison zoomed past Hofstra 62-41 for its fourth straight win in men’s basketball, but that story was in danger of becoming a mere footnote at the expense of a moment near the middle of the second half Thursday night.
Senior point guard Devon Moore injured his left ankle and lay on the Convocation Center floor for more than a minute before teammates Gene Swindle and A.J. Davis carried him up to the building’s training room. It looked like another devastating injury that could derail what’s becoming a promising season for the Dukes — and given the team’s fortune with injuries over the past five years, that’s what Madison and coach Matt Brady probably expected.
But Moore later returned to the bench with just an ice pack on his ankle. And he came into a post-game press conference in just his socks, with only a slight limp and a giant smile.
So, Devon, what does that smile say about your ankle?
“Everything gonna be all right,” Moore said. “I scared myself there to be for real. [A Hofstra player] went up under me, I got a little sprain. I wanted to play, but doctors said it’s OK, just get ready for next game. It’s all right, little, light ankle sprain. Just gotta get treatment and go from there.”
JMU has rival George Mason coming to town for a Colonial Athletic Association showdown Saturday, and the Dukes had already begun focusing on that game shortly after their easy win over the Pride.
Moore’s ankle will have less than 40 hours to heal, but if you take his word for it, the fifth-year floor general will be in the lineup for Saturday’s critical matchup.
“They can’t stop me from playing that game. Can’t,” Moore said. “It’s my last go-around here, so I’m definitely going to play that game. Like I said, I wanted to play tonight, but you know, unfortunately the doctors told me and the trainers told me I couldn’t play. But I’m definitely gonna be in the Mason game. I’m definitely gonna be in my uniform and playing with the rest of these guys.”
George Mason blew a 20-point lead to Drexel on Thursday, putting both teams at 5-4 in the CAA. JMU (12-10 overall, 7-3 in the CAA) is now 1½ games ahead of both for sole possession of second place in the conference.
Hofstra (5-16, 2-6) scored the first five points of the second half Thursday to bring it within a point of Madison. But the Dukes used a 16-2 run (8-0 immediately after Moore exited the game) to put away any doubt.
“That’s the first thing I said – I said, ‘Just gotta turn it up. One man go down, we just got to replace his energy,”’ Andre Nation said.
Senior forward Rayshawn Goins scored a game-high 16 points and freshmen guards Nation and Charles Cooke added 13 apiece for the Dukes, who never trailed. Cooke, in his third game since returning from a broken left wrist, made all six of his shots – one from the free-throw line, two from 3-point range and three from inside the arc. His point total is a career high.
“I think they’re playing really, really well,” Hofstra coach Mo Cassara said of the Dukes. “I think they’re playing great team basketball. They’re moving the ball, they’re sharing the ball, and they’re getting great contributions from different guys.”
JMU outrebounded Hofstra 36-21, giving the Dukes a plus-51 rebounding advantage during their four-game win-streak.
Hofstra – the weakest offensive team in the CAA – shot just 33 percent from the field and JMU held an opponent to 50 points or fewer for the sixth time this season. The Dukes did that just once last year.
“They played great defense. Not much I can say,” Hofstra guard Stevie Mejia, who was held to seven points on 2-of-8 shooting, said.
Entering Thursday, Hofstra had won 14 of the past 15 matchups with JMU, but the Pride have been severely weakened this season by the suspension of four players in November for an arrest on burglary charges. Madison could have been caught in a trap game in front of a small home crowd of 2,986, but the Dukes instead notched their third-most lopsided win of the season, improving to 8-2 at the Convo.
“We kind of just stepped on it, man, and kept our foot on the pedal, and they didn’t have no answer for us,” Goins said.
JMU’s next two games are also at home, which could help the Dukes continue their win streak. Of course, the status of their point guard, beginning with Saturday’s game against Mason, will be just as vital.
“That’s always a doctor’s decision, but if it’s not broken, Devon’s going to want to play,” Brady said. “… Whether he’s able to play or not, he’s certainly not going to be 100 percent. But by the same token, Ron Curry can play with the ball for the majority of the game. If that’s the case, Ron will play great. I have no issues with Ron Curry moving over to point guard. The only thing you would like to have is a fifth-year senior point guard in the last 2-3 minutes of the game.”