James Madison has already achieved a couple of big milestones as a team this season.
Now Terrence Edwards Jr. has an individual one.
Edwards scored 29 points to surpass 1,000 for his career, and the 20th-ranked Dukes will enter conference play undefeated after an 89-75 victory over Morgan State on Friday in Baltimore.
“I was only able to play two years in high school, so I was like 40 points short,” Edwards said. “I told myself I was going to get it in college, and today was the day.”
The Dukes (12-0) are one of three NCAA Division I men’s teams that has yet to lose, along with No. 3 Houston and No. 25 Mississippi. James Madison began the season with an overtime victory at then-No. 4 Michigan State, and after outlasting Kent State in double OT, the Dukes entered the Top 25 for the first time.
Now they’ll try to continue their unbeaten run against their conference opponents in the Sun Belt. Their nonconference schedule isn’t done, however. James Madison has a Feb. 10 game — against an opponent to be determined — that’s part of a challenge series between the Sun Belt and the Mid-American Conference.
Morgan State (4-10) led 19-18 before James Madison went on a 14-0 run that included 10 points by Julien Wooden. It was 47-35 at halftime.
The Bears started impressively in the second half and took a brief lead at 58-56 on a three-point play by Will Thomas.
“I feel like we’ve dealt with distractions all the time. Rankings, predictions and everything we’re dealing with,” said James Madison coach Mark Byington, whose team is off to the best start in program history. “Our guys need a break. It’s a long run, and I know they’re looking forward to Christmas. I am too. But what you can’t do is you can’t start opening candy canes at halftime, which we might have a little bit too early.”
James Madison surpassed 80 points for the eighth straight game. The Dukes entered with the top scoring average in the country at 92.9 points per game.
“When you’re good, you figure out a way to win,” Morgan State coach Kevin Broadus said. “That’s what I think they did today.”
Thomas scored 20 points for Morgan State.
Morgan State: With leading scorer Wynston Tabbs injured, the Bears still hung tough in a rare opportunity against a ranked team at home. The pace of the game didn’t seem to bother Morgan State.
James Madison: This wasn’t a particularly convincing performance by the Dukes, but the overall accomplishment — making it to Christmas unbeaten — is one the program should savor.