Western Alum Pierce Still Dancing with Dukes

Western Albemarle alum Christian Pierce has had a courtside seat for the best season of basketball at James Madison in almost 20 years.

Pierce, a junior, is a backup guard for the Dukes, who face No. 1 seed Indiana on Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Earlier this month, JMU won the CAA championship in Richmond, giving the program its first NCAA appearance since 1994.

On Wednesday, the Dukes beat LIU-Brooklyn 68-55 in the First Four, setting up Friday's match-up with the Hoosiers.

"It was a great experience," Pierce said after Wednesday's win, JMU's first in an NCAA Tournament game since 1983.

Pierce was the Jefferson District player of the year and an all-state selection at Western Albemarle in 2010. He averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds, leading the Warriors to district and Region II championships.

The walk-on played in 13 games as a sophomore at JMU last season. He hasn't appeared in a game this year, although he jokingly called himself "probably the best player on the scout team" on Wednesday.

Friday's game against the Hoosiers is a chance for JMU to make NCAA history. No 16-seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed in the tournament.

But Pierce says it's not a lock that the trend will continue on Friday.

"That would be just a ridiculous experience," he said. "Obviously it's never been done before. I mean, we feel like we have a shot. We feel like we can do it, if we hit shots and play defense."

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