JMU Men’s Basketball Dominates Texas State, Opens League Play with Win

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Daniel Merriman

The 20th-ranked team flexed its proverbial muscles Saturday against Texas State, opening Sun Belt play with an 82-65 win.

The Dukes (13-0, 1-0 SBC) were in control throughout the contest. JMU was ahead for 38 of 40 minutes, and the 17-point margin of victory doesn’t quite do this contest justice.

Mark Byington’s squad dominated from the jump. They made more field goals, assisted on more baskets, and had nine fewer turnovers than the Bobcats.

T.J. terminates Texas State

T.J. Bickerstaff finished the ball game with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. He recorded the stats in just 24 minutes. He didn’t commit a turnover and only fouled once.

He looked like the best player on the floor. Bickerstaff will be a force during the entirety of JMU’s SBC games. He’s scored at least nine points and grabbed five rebounds in every game.

Terrence Edwards praised Bickerstaff after the game.

“T.J. just had an edge to him today, and we’re going to need that moving forward,” Edwards said.

The Boston College transfer only missed two shots, going 9-11 from the field. 

Bigger goals ahead

JMU had 46 points in the paint compared to 30 for Texas State. The Dukes’ inside-out punch is lethal for the mid-major level and will pay dividends as the season progresses. Six Dukes made at least one 3-pointer in Saturday’s victory.

This performance put the Sun Belt on further warning.

The Dukes can win ball games in many different ways. This team is focused and hungry to make it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Edwards said it best when asked about his New Year’s Resolution.

“Win the Sun Belt, get to March Madness,” Edwards said.

Next up

The conference schedule ramps up with a fierce road trip to Louisiana and Southern Miss. JMU will face the defending SBC champs first, visiting Louisiana on Thursday. Notably, Louisiana doesn’t have their All–SBC center Jordan Brown anymore. He transferred to Memphis.

Regardless, it will be a huge away test for the Dukes, who are trying to protect their 13-game win streak. 

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