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Matt Lewis looks to pass the ball. 

It was a tight contest that went down to the final minutes, but a late push from Norfolk State pushed the Spartans to a 83-73 victory over JMU. It’s the first loss of the season for the Dukes, while NSU earned its first win. 

Tied at 67 with over three minutes remaining, the Spartans closed with a 16-6 run to move to 1-0 in the 2020-21 season. Four Norfolk State players ended with double-digit points, while it also out-rebounded JMU, 35-34. 

"I think a couple things didn't go our way today and we just got a little down and couldn't overcome them,” JMU head coach Mark Byington said to JMU Athletics. “We had some good things and we're going to keep learning and keep getting better. We just need to get a little more competitive and finish the deal — the game was right there and we just had some things go against us.”

NSU redshirt senior forward J.J. Matthews led the visitors with 18 points. Norfolk State shot 49% from the field and 45% from downtown and also outscored JMU in bench points by 10. 

JMU also had four players find themselves with 10 points or more. Senior guard Matt Lewis had a game-high 27 points and had four assists, junior guard Vado Morse chipped in 16 and sophomore forward Julien Wooden and freshman forward Justin Amadi had 10 apiece. 

The Spartans remain in Harrisonburg ahead of the team’s matchup with Radford that’ll be played in the Atlantic Union Bank Center. JMU faces Radford on Sunday, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Contact the sports desk at breezesports@gmail.com. For more coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.