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The Johnson C. Smith University Golden Bulls ousted the Virginia State University Trojans from the CIAA Tournament on Wednesday evening in an 82-63 decision in the Time Warner Cable Arena. Johnson C. Smith, the fifth seed out of the Southern Division, will advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal round with the victory. The Golden Bulls will take on Bowie State, the defending CIAA Tournament champions, at 3 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.
Emilio Parks led all players in the contest with 21 points in the victory for the Golden Bulls. LaMarquis Letchaw drained 20 points, including a 14-14 outing at the charity stripe. Antwan Wilkerson notched 14 points while tallying 14 rebounds (five offensive, nine defensive).
Golden Bulls head coach Stephen Joyner, Sr. noted, “Hats off to Virginia State. They played an excellent game. 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 the Golden Bulls took 44 trips to the line in comparison to 16 opportunities handed to the Trojans. Johnson C. Smith made good on 37-44 of those trips while Virginia State went 10-16 from the free throw line.
Additionally, the Trojans finished the contest shooting 3-22 from the three point line. Wilkerson opened up the contest with a bucket for Johnson C. Smith. 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. 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.
Johnson C. Smith came out firing after halftime as Parks tacked on seven points to the Golden Bull’s lead. Savage answered with a layup for Virginia State, but a 5-0 run by Johnson C. Smith quickly built the Golden Bull’s lead to 42-30 with 17:12 left in the contest. The Trojans fought valiantly to stay within striking distance, but Virginia State struggled to overcome the deficit.
They trailed the Golden Bulls 49-36 at the first media time out of the second half. Johnson C. Smith 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).
The Golden Bulls escaped the threat and pulled ahead 62-52 by the final media time out of the contest. Though the Trojans continued to fight and put points in the board, it proved too little too late as the Golden Bulls cruised to the 82-63 victory.
For the complete box score, click here.