Edwards, Bickerstaff help No. 24 James Madison rally past Radford in first game as ranked team
Sat, Nov 18, 2023
NCAAB News (AP)
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - Terrence Edwards scored 21 points, TJ Bickerstaff had 20, and No. 24 James Madison rallied past Radford 76-73 in a Cancun Challenge campus game on Friday night.
The Dukes survived their first game as a ranked team thanks to their defense in the closing minutes. DaQuan Smith put Radford ahead 73-70 on a jumper with 3:35 left, but the Highlanders didn't score again. Bickerstaff put JMU (4-0) ahead to stay when he took a hard foul and made two free throws with 1:22 remaining.
The game drew 8,104 fans, the second-largest crowd in Atlantic Union Bank Center history.
"I don't want to go too far without saying we're not winning that game without our crowd," JMU coach Mark Byington said. "That was one of the best crowds we've had here."
Smith finished with 20 points for the Highlanders (2-3), Kenyon Giles scored 15 and Justin Archer contributed 14.
Julien Wooden finished with 15 points for JMU, including 11 in the first half as the Dukes built a 10-point lead late in the period. But Radford closed the half on a 14-0 run to go into the break leading 39-35.
It was back-and-forth early in the second half. Xavier Brown hit a deep 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to put the Dukes ahead 61-58 with 10 minutes to go. But Giles helped Radford regain the lead a few minutes later.
Radford dropped its second straight to in-state opponents after losing at VCU on Wednesday.
"We're doing this with a quick turnaround and it's kind of like when we get into conference play with the Thursday ESPNU game and then on Saturday," Radford coach Darris Nichols said. "VCU, JMU and North Carolina, those games that we played, it's exposing us to a lot of things and I feel like we are getting better."
JMU stunned then-No. 4 Michigan State in the season opener and continued its hot start. Three of the Dukes' four games have been decided by either one possession or in overtime.
"I believe it's just going to make us very comfortable in these tough situations," Bickerstaff said. "So whatever we're confronted with we'll be ready to attack it."
The teams travel to Mexico to continue the Cancun Challenge. JMU will face Southern Illinois on Tuesday in Riviera Maya and either Fresno State or New Mexico on Wednesday. Radford will play Morgan State on Tuesday and either Chicago State or Northern Colorado the following day.
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