JCSU men’s basketball celebrates their 82-63 win over Virginia State in the CIAA Tournament.
Charlotte, NC – The Johnson C. Smith University men’s basketball ousted the Virginia State University Trojans from the 2014 CIAA Tournament on Wednesday, February 26th in an 82-63 decision at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
JCSU, the fifth seed out of the Southern Division, advances to Thursday’s quarterfinal round with the victory. The Golden Bulls will take on Bowie State, the defending CIAA Tournament champions, at 3:00 p.m.
Virginia State, the Northern Division’s fourth seed, saw their season come to a close with a 14-13 mark on the year. Elijah Moore led the effort with 14 points in the loss. Lamar Kearse and Larry Savage added 11 and 10 points respectively.
“I don’t think we played particularly well on either side of the floor…we weren’t aggressive in going to the basket…they played better than we did tonight. We are a better shooting team than what we showed,” commented Virginia State head coach Lonnie Blow, Jr.
All-CIAA junior forward Emilio Parks (Ashtabula, OH) led all players in the contest with 21 points in the victory for the Golden Bulls. Junior guard LaMarquis Letchaw (Dallas, TX) produced 20 points, including a 14-14 outing at the charity stripe. Senior forward Antwan Wilkerson (Greensboro, NC) notched a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds.
“Hats off to Virginia State; they played an excellent game,” said Golden Bulls head coach and 2014 CIAA Hall of Fame inductee Stephen Joyner, Sr. “Defensively, I thought we executed an outstanding game plan and we will have to continue to do that in order to stay in this tournament.”
Free throws played a critical role in the contest as JCSU had 44 attempts at the line in comparison to 16 opportunities for the Trojans. The Golden Bulls made good on 37-44 of those trips, while Virginia State went 10-16 from the charity stripe. Additionally, the Trojans finished the contest shooting 3-22 from three point land.
Wilkerson opened up the contest with a bucket for JCSU. Savage quickly tied things up with a basket for the Trojans at the 18:28 mark. Virginia State built an 11-8 lead six minutes into the contest before a 9-0 run by the Golden Bulls gave them a 17-11 advantage at the midway point of the first half.
The Trojans trailed for the remainder of the half, but pulled within three points at the 7:08 mark after a layup by Savage. The Golden Bulls pulled away by nine points on three different occasions before taking a 33-28 advantage heading into halftime.
JCSU came out firing after halftime as Parks tacked on seven points to the Golden Bulls’ lead. Savage answered with a layup for Virginia State, but JCSU surged again for a 5-0 run. The Trojans faced a 42-30 deficit with 17:12 left in the contest.
VSU trailed the Golden Bulls 49-36 at the first media timeout of the second half.
The Golden Bulls continued to dominate through the midway point of the second half. At the 9:20 mark, Virginia State made things interesting when free throws by Savage sparked a 5-0 run and pulled the Trojans within five points (55-50). JCSU escaped the threat and pulled ahead 62-52 with 4:56 remaining.
Though the Trojans continued to fight and put points on the board, it proved too little too late as the Golden Bulls cruised to the 82-63 victory.
JCSU played the Bulldogs of Bowie State in their first game of the 2014 calendar year. The Golden Bulls managed to pull out an 84-73 win on their home floor.