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Alston, Lewis push Mountaineers past Dukes 83-79

Sophomore+guard+Alexis+Black+sizes+up+a+JMU+defender+Feb.+24.
Tanielle Jordan
Sophomore guard Alexis Black sizes up a JMU defender Feb. 24.

App State welcomed James Madison to Boone Saturday afternoon for the team’s senior day. On top of defeating the Dukes 83-79, the team highlighted three players for their contributions to the Black and Gold.

Prior to tip-off, graduate student guard Mariah Frazier, senior guard Taylor Lewis and senior guard Faith Alston were honored as a part of senior day festivities. They received a framed jersey and their own video package played in front of the Holmes Convocation Center crowd.

“Just a fun way to finish up in front of our fans at the Holmes Center,” said head coach Angel Elderkin, who wore a shirt with pictures of the three graduating players. 

It was a career day for Lewis, as she finished with a career-high 23 points along with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Alston posted 25 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Sophomore forward Rylan Moffitt had 14 points and five rebounds and sophomore guard Alexis Black ended with 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Mountaineers and Dukes battled back and forth in the first quarter. After JMU took an early 13-9 lead, App State countered with their own 9-1 run. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 23, with Alston and Lewis combining for 17. 

Senior guard Faith Alston drives past a defender Feb. 25.

The second quarter was much of the same as neither team could gain much separation. The Mountaineers went into halftime up 41-34, despite being outrebounded 26-12. 

App State shot 44% from the field and 40% from three in the opening half. The Black and Gold defense stifled the Dukes up-tempo offense, holding them to 40% from the field and 33% from three. The Mountaineers forced seven turnovers and kept beating James Madison to loose balls.

“It was a pride thing,” Frazier said. “Knowing this was our last one at home, especially as seniors.”

The Black and Gold kept firing away to start the third quarter, shooting 55% from the field and 50% from three through the first six minutes of the period. Lewis and Alston continued to carry the offensive load for App State, accounting for 20 of the team’s 27 points in the quarter. The Mountaineers went on a 7-0 run to end the third quarter, leading 68-60. 

The hot shooting from the Black and Gold continued to start the fourth quarter. They went on a 8-4 run, taking their largest lead of the game at 76-64. James Madison battled back thanks to some clutch baskets from forward Peyton McDaniel, getting as close as within three points. After some game sealing free throws, the Mountaineers emerged victorious.

The Black and Gold improve to 15-13 on the season and 8-8 in Sun Belt play with two regular season games remaining.

“We know that when we put out this brand of basketball, the App State brand of basketball, we can play with anybody,” Alston said.

The Mountaineers are on the road Wednesday as they take on Troy at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributor
Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
Ethan Smith (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his third year writing for The Appalachian.
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