Graphic courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally in our newsletter)
First-round win – It wasn’t perfect, but the Dukes beat Towson 74-73 on a clutch last-second shot from Matt Lewis. He’s proven himself as a reliable option late in games for JMU, and he has the ability to become a First Team All-CAA player in his final two years as a Duke. During the Hofstra loss, Lewis surpassed 1,000 career points.
Youngsters shine – Of JMU’s 74 points scored against Towson, 69 came from freshmen and sophomores. Dwight Wilson and Matt Lewis were particularly brilliant. The roster’s young core is exciting and gives fans hope for the future.
Quarterfinal loss – The Dukes fought hard, but ultimately lost to Hofstra by the final score of 76-67. JMU finishes the season with a 14-19 overall record. Through three years under Louis Rowe, JMU is 34-64.
Rowe’s seat – It’s warm. I haven’t heard anything legitimate saying that Rowe might lose his job, and many people believe Rowe will get at least another year. Regardless, the Dukes are 34-64 through three seasons under Rowe and weren’t much better this year than in years past. JMU loses its leading scorer in Stuckey Mosley, but brings in four talented recruits next season. If Rowe does stay, the expectations will be high for the 2019-20 season. If Rowe returns, he’ll need a strong season next year to remain JMU’s head coach. Pressure is mounting in Harrisonburg, and Rowe has the pieces to quickly turn pressure into excitement. The Dukes just need to win.
What should we takeaway from the CAA tournament – Not all that much. JMU played hard, but needed a buzzer beater to get by a 10-win Towson team in the first round. The Dukes battled hard in the loss to Hofstra, but came up short. This tournament wasn’t that much different than the regular season and JMU lost in the quarterfinals like many expected.
The future – JMU needs to start winning more. Fans know it, Rowe knows it and Jeff Bourne knows it. The Dukes are going to have one of the three or four best rosters in the CAA next season. It’s time for the Dukes to turn talent into a winning team.