Hofstra (5-15) at James Madison (12-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: JMU Convocation Center (7,156) -- Harrisonburg, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Hofstra 5-5. JMU 7-2. Away Record: Hofstra 0-9, JMU 2-7. Neutral Record: Hofstra 0-1, JMU 3-1. Conference Record: Hofstra 2-5, JMU 6-3. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 13-5.
GAMES NOTES: The Hofstra Pride will try to end a losing streak while the James Madison Dukes try to keep their winning one going as they meet up at the JMU Convocation Center for a CAA bout.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for Hofstra which has taken losses in each of its last four games. Three of the four losses came by six points or fewer, including a 57-51 defeat to UNC Wilmington on Saturday. It hasn't just been the last few weeks that have been tough though as the Pride are just 5-15 on the season and 2-5 in league play. Hofstra is also winless in all nine trips away from the Mack Sports Complex. Next up the Pride faces William & Mary.
The Dukes have begun picking up steam with wins in each of their last three contests. On Monday JMU took down UNC Wilmington, 63-56 on the road. The Dukes are now 12-10 on the campaign overall while holding a solid 6-3 mark in league play. Playing at home has been a nice boost for the Dukes with the team 7-2 at JMU Convocation Center. In the second contest of this three-game homestand the Dukes will host George Mason.
Although Hofstra has won 13 of the last 14 meetings, JMU earned its first win in the series since February of 2003 last season. Hofstra still has a 13-5 edge in the all-time series.
Hofstra's perimeter defense in the second half doomed it against UNC Wilmington. The Pride allowed the Seahawks to sink 7-of-14 shots from beyond the arc in the second period while the Pride had just three triples in the game in total. Hofstra did hold the Seahawks to just six points in the paint but the production from beyond the arc was too much to overcome.
Letting a team erupt from beyond the arc like that is a recipe for disaster for Hofstra. The Pride rank at the very bottom of the CAA in points per game (60.4) while shooting the second-worst percentage (.389) from the floor. Due to the poor offensive showings the Pride are suffering from a less than stellar -8.4 scoring differential. Taran Buie (15.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg) is the leading scorer on the roster but is shooting at just a 36.6 percent clip. Stevie Mejia (10.6 ppg, 4.2 apg) has been a solid passer but like Buie suffers from a lack of consistency from the floor (.362 FG percentage).
By dominating on the interior JMU was able to will itself past UNC Wilmington. The Dukes had a 42-30 edge in rebounds and outscored the Seahawks 35-26 in the paint. The dominance on the boards contributed on the offensive side as well as the Dukes brought in 17 offensive boards that led to a 19-9 edge in second chance points.
Although they have been better than the Pride on the offensive end the Dukes have only been marginally so. The Dukes are netting just 64.5 points per game while connecting on 41.2 percent of their shots from the floor. Rayshawn Goins (13.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg) has done is best to rectify those weaknesses as he leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. Devon Moore (10.5 ppg, 4.2 apg) has been more of a pass first contributor but when he does create opportunities for himself has shot a strong percentage from the floor (.490).
Although neither of these teams is likely to erupt on the offensive end, with Goins on the inside the Dukes will have a decided advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: James Madison 67, Hofstra 60
01/31 10:35:55 ET