JCSU Advances to CIAA Championship Game With 80-71 Win Over Bowie State
The Johnson C. Smith University men's basketball team took down the reigning CIAA champions to conclude Friday night's semifinal round of the CIAA Tournament, as the Golden Bulls defeated the Bulldogs, 80-71 in the Spectrum Center. The victory advances Johnson C. Smith to the Championship Game against the Panthers of Virginia Union University. Tipoff is scheduled for Saturday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m.
The Golden Bulls had four players score in double figures led by Roddric Ross (Forest CIty, N.C.) who registered a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Robert Davis (West Friendship, Md.) notched 19 points, three assists and three steals and two rebounds while sophomore Cayse Minor (Winston-Salem, N.C.) chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Christian Kirchman (Roanoke, Va.) added 12 points, three assists and two rebounds in the win for JCSU.
In the opening minutes of the contest, the Golden Bulls raced out to a 6-0 lead, forcing the Bulldogs to call a timeout at the 18:15 mark. BSU finally got on the board after a layup from Saiquan Jamison but JCSU responded with a layup up of their own from Arthur Bennett (Powder Springs, Ga.) to go ahead 8-2.
Bowie State and JCSU exchanged baskets for over four minutes until Davis drained a deep 3-pointer to stretch the Golden Bull lead 23-16 with 7:33 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs pulled within three points after scoring four-straight but JCSU reached their largest lead of the half, grooming an 8-2 margin before BSU's Cameron Hayes cut the deficit to six before the teams went into the locker room with JCSU holding the 37-31 lead.
Johnson C. Smith shot over 50-percent from the field, including 6-of-11 shots from the three-point line (54.5-percent) and 50-percent (5-of-10) from the charity stripe led by Minor who had 10 points at the break. BSU connected 13-of-35 shots for 37.1-percent and was 3-of-10 from long distance as Omari George also gathered 10 points at intermission.
In the second half, Bowie State orchestrated an 8-2 outing to close the gap to one (38-39). A 3-pointer from Hayes erased a three-point deficit and tied the contest for the first time at 41-41 but on the ensuing possession, JCSU tallied three the hard way after Bennett was fouled for a potential three-point play. He would miss the freebie but get another opportunity at the foul line with the game clock showing 14:06 and this time he would connect, giving the Golden Bulls a 44-41 lead.
Bowie State took their first lead of the contest when Wilson kicked a pass to Dayshawn Wells for a 3-pointer on the wing. The Bulldogs would maintain their lead for three minutes until a free-throw shot from Kirchman provided the third tied of the night (50-50).
Ross regained the lead for the Golden Bulls, scoring four unanswered points as JCSU led 54-50 over Bowie State with 8:30 remaining in the game. Following three more ties down the stretch, two free-throws from Minor put Johnson C. Smith ahead 62-60. With 4:11 left to play, Johnson C. Smith went on a 12-4 spread, including a 3-pointer from Davis that provided a 72-64 lead over Bowie State. BSU closed the gap to just six but the Golden Bulls pulled away, following a layup from Ross and a slam from Johnathan Curtis that would put an exclamation mark on the win for JCSU.
For the contest, Johnson C. Smith outshot Bowie State, shooting 52-percent (26-50), 47.1-percent (8-17) from behind the arc and went 20-of-31 at the charity stripe. The Golden Bulls scored 32 of their 80 points in the paint while creating a 12-5 advantage in points off of turnovers.
Hayes led Bowie State in scoring, also recording a game-high 20 points while Wilson added 17 points and five assists. Wells finished with a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds, following George who contributed 11 points and seven rebounds in the loss.