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November 10, 2012

JMU Hoops Top 10s: Opponents' Individual Performances

On Friday we covered the Top 10 performances by JMU players during the Matt Brady era.

Today it's all about the opponents who single-handedly dominated the Dukes throughout the past four seasons.

Some are in the NBA, some playing professionally overseas, one still in college. All were headaches for JMU on at least one occasion.


10. Jamelle Hagins (Feb. 4, 2012): Delaware led James Madison wire-to-wire in last February's meeting at the Convocation Center, and Hagins was a big reason why. The power forward had 23 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks in an 85-80 Blue Hens win. The small-sized Dukes struggled against talented big men throughout last season, and Haggins, maybe the CAA's best two-way frontcourt player, was no exception. The 6-foot-9 registered his 12th double-double of the season, at the Dukes' expense.

9. Tony Easley (Nov. 20, 2009): Isaiah Canaan has gained national acclaim for Murray State, being named a preseason All-American across the country this year, but when the Racers played JMU in a tournament in Miami in November of 2009, he played a supporting role to Easley's dominance. I remember writing that Easley - hardly a superstar - looked like Dwight Howard playing against JMU's overmatched frontcourt. The bouncy center accumulated 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in just 20 minutes of Murray's blowout victory. And he helped hold his counterpart, JMU center Trevon Flores, scoreless on 10 shots.

8. Chris Cooper (Feb. 2, 2012): Cooper changed the entire tone of this game while scoring just 10 points. He supplemented that with 22 rebounds - just seven shy of JMU's total (ODU controlled the glass, 47-29 in the 80-71 Monarchs' win in Norfolk. "He's like a grown man out there, ODU teammate Kent Bazemore said of Cooper. "Like he's really 30 years old playing against little kids." A month earlier, Cooper had 16 rebounds in a win against JMU, but he outdid himself here.

7. Stephen Curry (Nov. 17, 2008): Game 1 of the Matt Brady era didn't go exactly as JMU fans would have hoped. They can blame the Davidson guard, now a standout on the Golden State Warriors. After announcing himself to the world the previous spring in the NCAA Tournament, Curry began his junior season with a 33-point, nine-assist effort in a steamrolling of Madison. The future top-10 draft pick made 14-of-19 shots in the 99-64 win in an NIT Season Tip-off game in Oklahoma.

6. Ryan Pearson (Jan. 28, 2012): When Pearson got through with the Dukes last winter in Fairfax, all the media could talk about was that the Patriots forward had to be the favorite to win CAA Player of the Year. Thanks to this game, which vaulted his status from POY contender to clear front-runner, Pearson indeed took him the hardware in March. What did he do to JMU? Pearson scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in an 89-79 win. The left-handed power forward displayed an array of moves, scoring from both inside and outside to cement his standing as the league's premier bucket-maker.

5. Velton Jones (Nov. 22, 2011): The 6-foot guard, built like a running back, went 10-for-15 from the floor and 15-of-19 from the free-throw line to score 38 points in 31 minutes of a Robert Morris win at the Convo last season. Told after the game how many points he had scored, Jones repeated the number. "38. Should have been 40. I know I missed a couple foul shots," he said. We'll give a pass to Jones, who added three steals and four rebounds in the 82-77 win.

4. Evan Turner (Nov. 12, 2009): It's probably a mere blip in the spectacular career of current Philadelphia 76er Evan Turner, but in the 2009-10 season-opener, the Ohio State star adequately displayed the difference between power-conference and mid-major. In a breezy 72-44 win for OSU, Turner scored 24 point,s grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out four assists against a heavily overmatched Dukes squad. JMU actually hung in the game for a while, trailing by just nine at halftime, but Turner and the Buckeyes activated their Nitrus Oxide canisters after intermission to pull away.

3. Cam Long (Jan. 22, 2011): In an 11 a.m. game marketed as the "Brady Brunch," in which the Convocation Center served breakfast to incoming fans, George Mason's Cam Long feasted on the then-15-4 Dukes for 30 points, five assists and four rebounds. He was 8-for-9 from the floor (4-of-4 from 3) and 10-of-13 from the free-throw line. Mason went on a 17-2 run midway through the second half to dump the Dukes on ESPNU. Long nailed a late jumper to effectively put away JMU. "With a game on the line like that, I feel like I have all the energy in the world at that point," he said.

2. Charles Jenkins (multiple occasions): Jenkins could single-handedly hijack 40 percent of this list, so we'll lump his impressive performances into one. In an overtime game in on Jan. 24, 2011, Jenkins scored 35 points, rallying the Pride from a 15-point deficit to a win. The previous season he had a "quiet" 20-5-5 line in a Hofstra blowout at the Convo. But in Brady's first season - Jenkins' sophomore year - is when he first established himself as a Dukes killer. On Jan. 24 - there's that date again - in 2009, Jenkins hit a runner before the buzzer for his 21st and 22nd points, lifting Hofstra to a one-point victory at the Convocation Center. In the season rematch, he slapped together a gaudy 32-point, 13-rebound, seven-assist line in a double overtime win.

1. Quinn McDowell (Mar. 4, 2011): In the first round of the 2011 CAA Tournament, Quinn McDowell set a tourney-record with 35 points against JMU. William & Mary needed every bit of that big performance. Making 21 of his 23 combined field goals and free throws, McDowell propelled the 11th-seeded Tribe to a big upset over JMU, which was ranked No. 6 but had serious intentions of competing for the CAA crown. The innocent-looking McDowell was an absolute assassin on this night in Richmond, drilling five of six 3-pointers and continually stopping any momentum JMU could muster. "He just went nuts," Brady said that night. A year and a half later, that loss still resonates with Brady. "Quinn had one of those games, and as coaches, those are the games that I remember, that stay with me the longest - the losses," he said this offseason. "… I thought Quinn's performance was otherworldly. His career game in a setting where we had basically outplayed them aside from his performance."


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