JMU Rallies from Second-Half Deficit to Defeat Saint John's

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- The James Madison Dukes fought back from a 10-point deficit at 49-39 with 6:12 remaining in the third quarter to take down the Saint John's Red Storm 76-73 at home Sunday. The win moved JMU's overall record to 3-1.

Kamiah Smalls scores during a 76-73 JMU win over St. John's.

The Dukes had three players score in double figures, led by Kamiah Smalls, who had 25 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Jackie Benitez added 19 points and two steals and Lexie Barrier helped out with 11 points and two steals.

Kiki Jefferson pulled down four offensive rebounds to lead the Dukes, powering second chance opportunities for JMU's offense. The team nabbed 13 boards and turned them into 12 second chance points in the contest.

The JMU defense was a problem in Sunday's game, forcing 18 Saint John's (NY) turnovers. Those takeaways turned into 18 points on the other end of the floor. Smalls' three steals led the way individually for the Dukes.

How it Happened
JMU started out the scoring by going on an 8-0 run, culminating in a bucket from Barrier, to take an early lead with 7:20 left in the first quarter. The Dukes then lost some of that lead, but still entered the quarter break with an 18-14 advantage. JMU did most of its first quarter damage in the paint, scoring 14 of its 18 points close to the basket.

Saint John's rallied to take a 29-25 lead before JMU went on a 6-0 run starting at the 4:21 mark in the second period, highlighted by a three from Benitez, to take a 31-29 lead. The Red Storm then came back to take a 34-33 lead heading into halftime.

The Red Storm continued to increase its lead after halftime, building a 50-41 advantage before JMU went on a 6-0 run, punctuated by a basket from Smalls, to trim its deficit to 50-47 with 3:07 to go in the third. Saint John's countered and stretched its lead to 57-52 heading into the fourth. JMU played well near the basket, scoring 10 of its 19 points in the paint.

JMU came out of the third quarter break clicking on all cylinders, going on a 6-0 run, finished off by Smalls' layup, to seize a 58-57 lead with 7:42 to go in the contest. The Dukes kept expanding the margin and coasted the rest of the way for the 76-73 win.

Game Notes
The Dukes rallied from a five-point 57-52 third quarter deficit to pick up the win.
JMU had a 43-26 edge on the boards in the win.
The JMU defense forced 18 turnovers.
JMU cleaned up on the offensive glass, collecting 13 offensive boards in the game.
Kamiah Smalls led the Dukes with a game-high 25 points.
Kiki Jefferson and Jaylin Carodine both grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
Smalls scored 25 points for the second time this season
Jefferson flirted with a double-double scoring nine points to go along with her nine rebounds
Benitez added 19 points, with 12 coming from behind the arc
Kayla Cooper-Williams has reached 900 career rebounds. She is just the fourth person in JMU history to record 900+ rebounds.
With her 2 steals, Benitez is now tied for fifth with Logan Reynolds and Holly Rilinger with 198 career steals
Smalls now sits in 13th all-time with 1,436 points
Smalls' 529 career field goals made is tied for 14th all-time with Lesley Dickinson

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Coach Sean O'Regan: "If we bring out A game we're going to be in good shape the rest of the year."

Kamiah Smalls: "It's much better. The run to the locker room was better. It's good to bounce back and get our feet back under us and get the win."

Jackie Benitez: "I think being able to go to the basket and draw attention away makes me more comfortable with my shot."

Up Next
The Dukes are back in action on Thursday, November 21, when they'll take on Georgetown on the road at 7 p.m.

This article created using technology provided by Data Skrive.