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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 15, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: JMU Convocation Center (7,612) -- Harrisonburg, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Northeastern 2-4, JMU 1-2. Away Record: Northeastern 0-6, JMU 3-7. Neutral Record: Northeastern 2-3, JMU 2-2. Conference Record: Northeastern 1-2, JMU 1-2. Series Record: Northeastern leads, 11-4.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams desperate for a win collide on Wednesday night at the JMU Convocation Center, as the Northeastern Huskies challenge the James Madison Dukes in a Colonial Athletic Association dust-up.
Northeastern's fans haven't had much to cheer about this season, as the team is a miserable 4-13 overall, including losses in five of its last six. The most recent disappointment came at home, with the Huskies falling in a 58-49 final to conference newcomer the College of Charleston. After this duel with James Madison, the Huskies will host Delaware.
The Dukes have done only marginally better for themselves this season, currently sitting with an overall record of 6-11. They were just barely defeated last time out in a 78-74 final at home against Delaware. The loss was the second straight for the Dukes, who visit in-state rival William & Mary next.
Northeastern won the regular season meeting between these programs last season, 66-64. However, James Madison then returned the favor in the conference tournament with a 70-57 win. The all-time series has not been as even, with the Huskies laying claim to an 11-4 edge.
Scott Eatherton hung up yet another double-double for Northeastern against the College of Charleston, netting 19 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, but the effort went for naught. The Huskies only connected on 26.7 percent of their shots from the floor, while being outscored 19-9 off turnovers.
Low-scoring affairs are the norm for Bill Coen's club. The Huskies are only averaging 66.6 ppg and shooting at a 43.6 percent clip from the field. That has not been enough to put them in the win column very often as they are allowing 70.5 ppg on 46.3 percent shooting. Eatherton (17 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.1 bpg) is the only beacon of hope on the roster, as he sits atop Division I in double-doubles with 12. He also leads the CAA in blocks. David Walker (11.4 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures, but he is connecting on just 37.2 percent of his field goal attempts.
Andre Nation scored 22 points and Taylor Bessick (11 points, 12 rebounds) finished with a double-double, as all five starters scored in double figures for the Dukes in the recent loss to Delaware. However, James Madison only got two points off the bench, as opposed to the 26 the Blue Hens got from their reserves.
Just like the Huskies, James Madison is not a team that lights up the scoreboard at a particularly elevated rate. The Dukes are only putting up 63.4 ppg and shooting 42 percent from the floor. A lack of ball movement is often the reason for the lackluster showings, as the Dukes only assist on 8.6 field goals per game. Charles Cooke (16.1 ppg) is the top scoring threat on the roster. He had at least 20 points in three straight games before turning in a 14-point performance against Delaware. Andrey Semenov (12.1 ppg) and Ron Curry (11.6 ppg) are the next best options on a roster that has very few.
Eatherton is a difficult player to stop. However, he has not gotten enough support and against James Madison, which is a bit better defensively than the Huskies, he will likely notch another double-double in a losing effort.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: James Madison 67, Northeastern 61
01/15 10:35:29 ET
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