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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Key matchup: Alcorn State’s Byron Joshua brings impressive scoring credentials to game against Gonzaga

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 14, 2021

Byron Joshua’s debut season at Alcorn State wasn’t exactly a tale of two halves, but to say the freshman guard finished the year in a better place than he started it would be a massive understatement.

Put it this way: through the first 15 games of Joshua’s rookie season, the Metairie, La., native scored just 56 points. In the final four, he poured in 76.

Joshua scored 16 points in 22 minutes off the bench against Southern University, earning a starting role the next game. He followed with a 30-point outing against Texas Southern, making 10 of 16 shots from the field including 4 of 4 from 3-point range. In many ways, Joshua started scoring and never stopped.

The now-sophomore leads Alcorn State into Monday’s battle with No. 1 Gonzaga on the heels of his fifth double-digit effort in the past seven games, after scoring 20 points in a narrow 62-58 loss to the University of Portland. Joshua was 6 of 13 from the field and finished 6 of 7 from the free throw line.

Although he’s been somewhat sporadic this season, scoring just 16 combined points against Washington State and Seattle U., Joshua’s been the Braves’ best offensive asset since his end-of-season surge in 2020-21. Along with the 16 points per game he’s averaged during that span, Joshua also been Alcorn State’s top distributor with 20 assists in the past seven games.

The Zags have every reason to feel confident in their defense after holding Texas’ starting backcourt to 22 combined points Saturday, but they’ll need that same discipline Monday facing not only Joshua but Mississippi State transfer Keondre Montgomery, who made three 3-pointers to score 17 points against Seattle U.

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