App State falls to JMU, Gregory scores 1,000th point


Courtesy of Cade Bettinger, App State Athletics

Redshirt senior forward Donovan Gregory drives hard to the basket as he scores his 1,000th career point Feb. 4, 2023.

Sam Vanolinda, Reporter

On Saturday, App State basketball looked to bounce back against one of the best offenses in the NCAA, the James Madison Dukes.

Despite a second-half comeback by the Mountaineers, JMU was victorious 63-57 in the Holmes Convocation Center, moving the Mountaineers to 13-12 on the season and 6-6 in conference play.

The Black and Gold started the game slowly offensively, with turnovers and poor shooting allowing the 11th-best scoring team in the nation to build a 30-19 lead at the half.

The Mountaineers shot 8-25 from the field and 2-11 from three in the first half, resulting in just 19 points going into the break. 

In the second half, App State was able to build offensive momentum; a scoring outburst from sophomore guard Terence Harcum and senior forward Donovan Gregory cut the lead to three before a Harcum three tied the game up with 2:21 remaining, bringing the house down in the lively Holmes Center.

After that point, App State was unable to make another field goal. A corner three from JMU sharpshooter Julien Wooden with under a minute left put the game out of reach.

Gregory led the scoring for the Mountaineers with 21 points, followed by Harcum with 20, including five threes. 

Junior guard Xavion Brown was able to add 12 points, and freshman forward Justin Abson added another three blocks to his 19th in Division I total.

The difference in this game was the free throws. App State was 5-14 from the line, nine points that would’ve won them the game.

“It’s part of the game,” head coach Dustin Kerns said. “I’ve seen our players make them, sometimes you just have those games, but yeah that was a tough stat.”

Despite the loss, Kerns was pleased with the attendance, especially the student section.

“Our students were terrific,” Kerns said. “It was a great crowd. I’m disappointed we didn’t do our part.”

Gregory was able to surpass 1,000 career points in Saturday’s game, which was greeted by an ovation from the crowd.

“It’s just a blessing,” Gregory said. “Looking back to freshman year, things were a lot different. Seeing how much I have grown as a player and a person, it’s just a sweet feeling. I’m happy to say I accomplished this.”

Harcum has stepped up as one of the top-scoring options for the Mountaineers, especially in the second half of the season. The guard has scored in double figures in the last seven games, adding 20 Saturday.

“I’ve been seeing the same shots I’ve always been seeing out there,” Harcum said, “Just starting to fall right now. I’ll continue to keep shooting them, and my teammates keep finding me in the right spot.”

Harcum will look to continue to score well and get the Mountaineers back on track when they travel to Monroe, Louisiana, to face ULM Thursday.