JMU Basketball is off to a hot start this season, with both the men and women at 2-1 heading into this weekend.
After Lancaster Bible College dropped out of the season opener, Limestone University became the Dukes' new opponent for opening day. The Dukes won handily 89-55. Freshman forward Justin Amadi dominated in his JMU debut with 16 points and the always reliable Matt Lewis scored 13. This was the first time the men had six scorers in double digits since a 2011 win over William & Mary.
The women came out onto the floor of The Bank just as strong, hanging 69 points on Mount St. Mary’s in a fourteen-point victory. Sophomore forward Rayne Tucker rained down 16 points on The Mount while freshman guard Jamia Hazell scored 18. The women played their hearts out on their way to a 69-55 victory to guarantee that only wins were on the floor of the new Atlantic Union Bank Center for JMU.
Following a Friday loss to the Norfolk State Spartans, the Dukes return to their winning ways Sunday as the men hosted the Radford Highlanders. Vado Morse led the team in offense with 26 points and head coach Mark Byington became 3-1 in his career against the Highlanders, with the Dukes at 2-1 on the early season. They win this one 67-59.
Against the University of Buffalo, the Dukes were gored by the Bulls’ shooting onslaught. Kiki Jefferson had 16 points on the day and the Dukes had a strong third quarter, but ultimately couldn’t catch up from the Bulls’ early success. The women lost their first game of the year, 64-80.
The men's next game will be at home against the University of Maryland on Saturday, December 5, with tipoff at 3 p.m. The women will play next against the George Mason Patriots at the Atlantic Union Bank Center on Sunday, December 6, with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m.
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Hitting the road after the loss to Buffalo on Monday, JMU women's basketball looked to bounce back on Thursday at UVA. Thanks to freshman guard Jamia Hazell, the Dukes took the win over the Cavaliers, 71-67.
JMU men's basketball defeated Radford, 67-59, and improved to 2-1 on the year. However, the Dukes showed signs of improvement in the win, a sign of good things to come under new head coach Mark Byington.
JMU sports finally made its return after an 8.5 month hiatus brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff writer Joshua Gingrich recaps what happened.
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