JMU Men’s Basketball Bounces Back, Routs South Alabama

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Daniel Merriman

James Madison’s men’s basketball squad emphatically bounced back following its first loss of the season, beating South Alabama 89-55 on Thursday night.

After experiencing their first loss of the season to Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg over the weekend, the Dukes’ embraced their return home. The win moves JMU to a perfect 7-0 at home.

“I thought our energy was good from the start,” head coach Mark Byington said. “Defense, offense, I thought we made plays.”

Dukes jump on Jaguars

The first half saw the Dukes get out to a comfortable double-digit lead about halfway through the first period. Raekwon Horton was essential to the early run as well as contributions from Terrence Edwards, who had 10 points at the half. Horton had eight points and three offensive rebounds in the first period as well. 

“It’s hard not to have him on the court,” Byington said of Horton. “He was huge for us in the first half”.

Horton’s teammates shared a similar sentiment when discussing his play, stating that everyone on this team can make an impact depending on the night.

The second half really blew the game open. JMU outscored USA 48-26 and expanded the lead to 39 at its largest. Noah Freidel caught fire in the second period, dropping 18 points, four rebounds, and two assists in the later half alone.

Freidel finished the ballgame with 26 points, tying his season high total that he posted vs Fresno State. JMU played stout defense for the entire second half, too. Freidel was tasked with guarding USA’s leading scorer, Isiah Gaiter.

“I was super excited … I was thinking about it before I went to bed last night,” Freidel said. “I think it got me to a whole ‘nother level being ready to play.”

Up next

The Dukes advance to 15-1 overall and 3-1 in SBC play. The’ll play their toughest in-conference opponent, App State, this Saturday.

The Mountaineers enter the matchup at 12-4 overall and 3-1 in the league. They have a win over No. 16 Auburn, and they join JMU as the only Sun Belt teams in the KenPom top 100.

This is most likely JMU’s biggest home game of the year, and the AUBC has a chance to be packed for the conference matchup.

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