Tuesday, January 3, 2012

JMU gets defensive, downs Duquesne

JMU 56, Duquesne 49: How strong was JMU's defensive effort in fueling their best victory of the season? Consider:

- The Dukes (yeah, that's their nickname, too) came in averaging about 14 turnovers a game. JMU turned them over 21 times;

- Duquesne (12-3) usually shares the ball better than all but a handful of teams in the country (17 assists per game). They had 8 assists Tuesday night;

- Those other Dukes averaged 73.9 points per game. Their 49-point output tied for their lowest of the season.

- JMU was plus-eight in rebounding margin.

JMU's success in taking away what explosive Duquesne does well - much as the Dukes did earlier this season against high-powered Middle Tennessee State - was especially important on this night because the home Dukes weren't exactly the Showtime Lakers on offense themselves. But while there's nothing flashy about Lauren Whitehurst's game, the redshirt senior forward from Chesapeake was extremely effective with a career-high 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Whitehurst was particularly on point in the second half as JMU (9-3) weathered a series of Duquesne mini-runs to hang on. The victory allowed the Dukes to close out a tougher-than-you-think non-conference schedule with a 8-3 record. No time to relax, though - JMU's CAA slate resumes in earnest Thursday when VCU comes calling.

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