NSU men's hoops pulls ahead late, beats JMU 83-73 in season opener

Posted at 4:26 PM, Nov 27, 2020

HARRISONBURG, Va. ( – Senior Kashaun Hicks and sophomore Daryl Anderson hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the game to put the Norfolk State men’s basketball team ahead for good in an eventual 83-73 win over James Madison on Friday afternoon at the Atlantic Union Bank Center.

A second half that saw nine lead changes saw the last one come with three minutes left in the season opener for NSU. The Spartans were behind by three before Hicks hit a corner trey, followed by an opposite corner 3-pointer from Anderson less than a minute later. Eight free throws from senior J.J. Matthews and another 3-pointer from Hicks in the last two and a half minutes of the game helped seal the win.

Matthews finished with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds in his NSU debut, hitting 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Senior Devante Carter added 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Both players also had two blocks each.

Anderson and Hicks each knocked down three 3-pointers as NSU went 10-of-22 from deep. Hicks scored all 13 of his points in the second half, giving the Spartans a boost after they led for more than 17 minutes in the first half but went into the locker room down by three.

NSU outscored JMU (1-1) by 13 in the second half and held the Dukes to 36 percent shooting for the game. The Spartans made 49 percent overall (24-of-49) and went 25-of-31 from the free throw line.

Matthews and Carter started the second half with a pair of buckets each to help NSU take the lead back. They were needed as JMU’s Matt Lewis continued his torrid play. He had a 3-pointer and then later a 4-point play as part of a back-and-forth second half. He made four treys for the game, shot 13-of-14 from the free throw line, and ended the afternoon with 27 points for the Dukes.

JMU led for most of an 11-minute stretch in the second half, although never by more than four points. Hicks had a pair of free throws, and sophomore Tyrese Jenkins sank one from deep to keep the game within one possession during that time.

That 11-minute stretch, however, ended when Hicks and Anderson gave the Spartans the lead for good.

Norfolk State started its season off strong, building an early 12-3 lead over the Dukes that was capped by 3-pointers from senior Mustafa Lawrence and Jenkins. Anderson knocked down a pair from deep to push the Spartans ahead 20-9 less than nine minutes into the game.

After a 9-2 JMU run, Lawrence hit four free throws for a 26-18 lead with eight minutes to go in the half. Still down by eight after another bucket by Lawrence, the Dukes went on an 11-2 run for their first lead of the game, 31-30, with two and a half minutes left. A last second-layup made it 38-35 at the break.

Lawrence had nine points in the first half as he and Carter led NSU in the early going.

Jenkins was the fourth Spartan in double figures for the game with 11 points. Norfolk State, meanwhile, finished with 21 fastbreak points.

Thanks to 11 offensive boards, JMU held a 15-2 edge in second-chance points. The Dukes sank nine 3-pointers and hit 22-of-26 from the charity stripe. Vado Morse helped Lewis carry the load with 16 points.

NSU will stay in town to face Radford on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Atlantic Union Bank Center.