James Madison travels down South to take on Elon from North Carolina on Saturday. The Dukes, Phoenix and UNCW all sit in last place in the CAA with a record of 1-7.
Last season, Elon won both games including at home by three points.
Talented but erraticJames Madison fell at the College of William & Mary on Thursday from Williamsburg 88-75. That was not a surprising score considering the Tribe were in first place and the Dukes were trying to stay out of last in the league. JMU fell behind by 14 at the half and started out the game going 0-for-6 in the opening three minutes. Darius Banks continued his strong play with 24 points, while Matt Lewis added 22 and six boars. However, the Dukes shot a pitiful 34% from the field (11-29 3pt). The Tribe shot 58% from the floor and 48% (12-25) from beyond the arc.
JMU has two very talented guards in Lewis (17.7ppg, 38.% FG) and Banks (14.2ppg, 39% FGF) and a solid big man in Dwight Wilson (10.6ppg, 10.5rpg), but this team has lost five straight games. The Dukes' struggles start on defense, where they allow 76.6 points per game on 43.1% shooting (32.6% 3pt). They also shoot just 41.6% from the field, 32.6% from distance and 63.5% (333rd) from the line. According to KenPom, they rank 275th overall and 308th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Playing better but....Elon hast lost three straight games but there are some positives. After getting crushed at Drexel 63-41 on Jan. 16, they held their own against Delaware on the road, falling 79-78. That same Delaware team upset Hofstra on the road on Thursday. At the same time, the Phoenix lost at home to Towson 72-61. This was a game that Elon could have won as they were up 28-26 at the half and led by five with 7:53 left in the game 49-44. But the Tigers outscored the Phoenix 28-12 down the stretch. Marcus Sheffield II and Hunter Woods led the way with 15 points for Elon, while freshman guard Zac Ervin added 14 on 4-of-9 from long range.
Sheffield II (6-5, 180) leads the Phoenix with 16.2 points per game on 39.5% shooting (38.5% 3pt). The good news is that Sheffield is a sophomore, Evin is a freshman and Woods is a freshman. So while the team is growing though growing pains, this is a young team that should be very dangerous in the future. Overall, with a young team, defense can be an issue. They allow 72.1 points per game on 44% shooting (35.4% 3pt). They also get outrebounded by 2.1 per game, though they had 19 offensive rebounds against Towson on Thursday. KenPom has the Phoenix at 316th overall and 321st in adjusted defensive efficiency.
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