Byington wants Dukes to play fast

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison men's basketball fans can expect to see an up-tempo team when the Dukes take the floor for the 2020-2021 season.

James Madison men's basketball fans can expect to see an up-tempo team when the Dukes take the floor for the 2020-2021 season.

In a recent interview with WHSV, new JMU head coach Mark Byington said he wants the Dukes to play fast.

"I don't have just one way and there's not just one way that can be successful but we are basically going to get to a point where we are going to play really fast," said Byington. "It's going to be an exciting style of basketball. Recruits want to play that way. Players want to play that way."

Byington was hired in March to replace Louis Rowe. He comes to the Dukes from Georgia Southern where the Eagles had one of the nation's fastest pace of play this past season. According to FoxSports.com's advanced stats, Georgia Southern ranked 31st nationally in pace out of about 350 Division I teams. The Eagles averaged 75.6 points per game in 2019-2020, which ranked 60th in the country. JMU averaged 71.9 points per game this past season, which ranked 148th.

While he wants the Dukes to play an up-tempo style, Byington also says he will be emphasizing defense and decision-making.

"We are going to be tough to score against and we are also going to limit our mistakes too," said Byington. "We are going to be intelligent. Not turn the ball over. Not make mental scouting report mistakes."

JMU allowed 76.5 points per game this past season, which ranked 321st in the country.