basketball Edit

Hot Shooting James Madison Beats East Carolina 99-89

Freshman guard Logan Curtis poured in 18 points to lead ECU in a 99-89 loss at James Madison on Saturday.
Freshman guard Logan Curtis poured in 18 points to lead ECU in a 99-89 loss at James Madison on Saturday. ( photo)

James Madison got 22 points from Darius Banks to go along with 16 points and 15 rebounds from Dwight Wilson to lead five Dukes in double-figures in a 99-89 win over ECU Saturday afternoon in Harrisonburg.

Michael Christmas had another good outing with 18 points to go along with 16 from Matt Lewis who also dished out ten assists. Deshon Parker added ten points. The Dukes went 12 of 26 from three-point land and in doing so improved to 5-3 on the season.

The Pirates got a solid 18 point outing from Logan Curtis, 16 each from Tyrie Jackson and Jayden Gardner and 14 points from Tremont Robinson-White who made his ECU debut after returning from an injury plagued preseason.

“He got a little gassed and made some boneheaded plays I think because of fatigue. We’re just going to have to let those guys play through this deal. I think he’ll be fine a month from now once he gets some game time under him and some practice,” said ECU head coach Joe Dooley.

“I think the big thing is we need to get some practice together. We haven’t had any practice where these guys are going full throttle. I thought their experience and strength in the backcourt with those guys were able to get downhill, I told our freshman guards and those guys that’s why you have to get in the weight room and get stronger and get bigger.”

Dooley evaluated the play of his some of his other players after Sunday’s game at JMU.

“I did think our young guys Tristen (Newton) and Logan (Curtis) did some nice things too,” said Dooley, “Logan had a good week of practice. You look at the plus-minus he was +7 in 16 minutes and 18 points in six minutes. He’s a tough joker."

"Tristen struggled a little bit today with bigger, stronger guards and that’s why we’ve got to got to emphasize getting in the weight room. Brandon Suggs hit the wall a little today. He’s been pretty consistent all year, but he struggled today. I thought Charles (Coleman) gave us some good minutes today. He’s a big body and he and Edra (Luster) both need some time and some experience to figure out what they can do.”

ECU fell to 2-6 with the loss, but this is a team that is better than their record. Both guards have been out for most of the early season games and with 14 new players, it will take time to acclimate as a team. The one thing Dooley did not like was his team’s defensive performance.

“Very disappointed in the way we guarded. We didn’t guard the dribble at all and people were able to get downhill,” said Dooley, “Our offensive stats were good enough to win 99 percent of your games and that’s why it’s especially disappointing. We spend so much more time on defense and it doesn’t look like it. It’s very disheartening. You give up 59.6 percent and 46.2 percent from three, you’re not going to win on the road,” Dooley said.

James Madison shot the ball extremely well from the field including 63 percent in the second half. The Dukes took advantage of less than average 40.6 first half ECU shooting before the Pirates eventually heated up in the second half, making 50 percent from the field including 57 percent from the arc on 8 of 14 shooting to go along with 89 percent shooting from the foul line.

Most of the time that would have been enough to win but an eleven point JMU run in the second half expanded a seven point halftime lead to 59-45 before a late ECU run cut the lead to ten.

The Pirates return to action Tuesday night in Minges Coliseum to take on Coppin State. Game time is scheduled for 7 o’clock.