RACHEL, W.Va. — 6-foot-9 North Marion standout and UAB signee Jude Akabueze scored 26 points Monday night as the Huskies defeated Robert C. Byrd 78-59.
“I thought we did a good job of executing our offense in the first half against their man-to-man,” said North Marion coach Chris Freeman. “We have shooters who can put the ball in the basket and we can get going. When we’re doing that, we’re pretty solid. But sometimes we deviate from that.”
Akabueze signed with UAB back in the fall.
“I (signed) with UAB because they had more interest in me,” he said. “UAB wants to start me immediately when I get to college and I’m glad to get that opportunity – I thought it was the best option for me. I’ve been working on my strength and running the floor (in preparation for the next level).”
Akabueze’s presence has been felt on both ends of the floor all year as he entered the week averaging around 25 points, 19 rebounds and five or six blocks per contest.
“His upside is tremendous and I’ve told UAB that they’re getting a stud,” Freeman said. “He’s only going to get better. I thought he ran the floor great in the first half. I don’t know if there’s another big man in the state who is better – he has a pretty good stat line and that’s with two people guarding him almost every night.”
North Marion (8-4), overall, also hit eight 3s in the win on Monday as Triston Hulderman scored 17 points, Robert Murphy totaled 16 points and Gunner Murphy added 15 points.
“I think we can be really, really good when we’re shooting the ball well,” Freeman said. “We did that against Bridgeport and we did that against Byrd. When those guys get going, it really stretches the defense.
“I like the make-up of our team,” he continued. “But we’re a little short on the bench and that’s what concerns me the most. We’ve got to find some young guys who can step in there and give us some minutes.”
Robert C. Byrd (6-6) was led by Brice Roseborough who scored 15 points. Gavin Kennedy added 13 points and Tre Junkins finished with 12 points in the loss.