‘Same Old, Same Old’
Semenov, Moore Out Of JMU’s Lineup For Now
Posted: January 4, 2013
HARRISONBURG — If James Madison is to extend its longest winning streak in two years, the Dukes will have to do it without two of their best all-around basketball players.
Senior forward Andrey Semenov suffered a sprained ankle in the second half of Wednesday’s 58-55 win at Old Dominion and could be out for up to two weeks, according to coach Matt Brady, whose team has won four straight and six of its last seven.
Senior point guard Devon Moore, meanwhile, is still in Ohio to be with his mother, who he said had a mini-stroke and an operation for a brain tumor last week. Moore said he has no timetable on when he might return to JMU.
“My priority is to make sure my family is all right, so I don’t know when I’m coming back,” Moore said Thursday from the Ohio State Medical Center, where his mother Carolyn is being treated.
In addition to being by his mother’s side, Moore said he’s helping watch his nephews when his father is at work.
The Columbus, Ohio, native averaged 11.2 points and a team-best 4.6 assists through the Dukes’ first 12 games. Although he didn’t play Wednesday at ODU, he was able to slip away after visiting hours to watch the game on an internet feed.
“I’m proud of them and I definitely want to be with them real soon because I only get one chance to play with these young guys,” Moore said.
The Dukes struggled to score in Moore’s absence, but got enough stops to squeak out a rare victory over Old Dominion in their Colonial Athletic Association opener. Freshman Ron Curry had a career-high 13 points filling in for Moore at point.
But just when JMU’s season appeared to be trending upward, the Dukes suffered another setback.
Semenov went to the floor writhing in pain after teammate senior Rayshawn Goins rolled up on his left ankle Wednesday. Semenov, the Dukes’ top shooter and interior defender, was on crutches Thursday and could miss several games during the Dukes’ busy schedule. Brady said the oft-injured Russian will be out at least a week or two, and possibly longer.
JMU plays at Georgia State on Saturday and at Hampton on Monday, and then at home against UNC-Wilmington on Wednesday and Drexel on Jan. 12.
“Same old, same old. Broken record. Just turn the page,” Brady said about losing top players, which also happened in three of his first four years at Madison (five of the team’s top six players missed extended time last year). “To me you’re taking away the best shooter in the league, arguably, and arguably the best point guard in the league. I don’t know – how do you [make up for that]? We’ll figure it out; we won [Wednesday], and it’s really one game at a time. You hope that guys step up. I think they’re willing to step up, but you just took out two fifth-year seniors that are all-league caliber guys. Breaks ain’t happening, brother.”
Semenov, averaging 11 points per game this year, missed all but two minutes of the Dukes’ first six games due to a hamstring injury. A 6-foot-7, floor-stretching power forward, Semenov might be the team’s most vital player. JMU went 1-5 in his initial absence and has been 6-1 since his return. Semenov made just one of nine shots Wednesday at ODU – his worst shooting performance of the year – but contributed to the win with his defense.
“I don’t think Andrey played well offensively, but he was terrific defensively when we doubled the low post,” Brady said. “His activity defensively was key, keeping them off the glass and away from the post.”
Without Moore and Semenov, Madison will have to lean even more heavily on its four freshmen as well as Goins (the team leader with 14.5 points per game) to try to improve to 2-0 in the CAA for the first time in Brady’s tenure. Only once in the past 17 years has JMU started with consecutive wins in league play.
The Dukes have lost their last three games at Georgia State, including a 74-58 decision last season at the 3,400-seat GSU Sports Arena. Moore missed that game, too – with a hand injury – but the Dukes did not know he would be inactive until mere moments before tip-off.
“Last year was a little bit of an aberration,” Brady said, “because 15 minutes before the game, before the ball got thrown up in the air, we learned that Devon couldn’t play. Devon was in warm-ups when we found out that he couldn’t play with his hand. We moved things around in our pre-game talk, and it didn’t go well, moving guys around on the court. It wasn’t how we prepared.
“At least [this time] we have a little bit of understanding of how you move some guys around.”