James Madison (14-11, 8-4) at Drexel (8-14, 5-6) – 7:00 – Comcast Network
The second bout of the season will be much different. Both teams played the first game short-handed, which ended as an offensive struggle. Damion Lee, Daryl McCoy, Andre Nation and Charles Cooke all missed the first game, so it makes sense that Drexel scored a season-low 43 points, and JMU scored its second fewest points of the year (51).
McCoy’s absence paved the way for a career day from JMU’s Taylor Bessick, who established career-highs in points (9) and rebounds (13). Those 13 rebounds were crucial in the Dukes’ 38-28 advantage on the glass. Against a healthy Dragons frontcourt, the Dukes will have a tough time repeating that feat: Drexel ranks 11th in the country in defensive rebounding, and 2nd in the country in offensive rebounds allowed (just 6.7 per game). The Dukes will need to make the most of their fast break opportunities, because there won’t be many second chances.
You can expect a more aesthetically pleasing game, but this will still be decided on the defensive end. Lee followed up the best two offensive games of his career with two of the worst. After averaging 29.5 points (on 21-of-40 shooting) in two games against Delaware and George Mason, he shot of 2-of-17 and scored 7 and 0 points against Northeastern and Old Dominion. Drexel needs a big game from him tonight.
A fall to 5-7 in conference would make for a precipitous climb out of the 4/5 game in the CAA Tournament. I think Lee, in front of the raucous crowd at The DAC, will respond with a big game.
Dragons 61, Dukes 57