The Johnson C. Smith University men’s basketball team opened the game on an 15-2 run and never trailed, as the Golden Bulls rolled to a convincing 93-83 road win over Shaw University at Spaulding Gym on Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Bulls wasted no time, jumping out to an 8-0 lead just 38 seconds into the game. Senior Christian Kirchman (Roanoke, Va.)drilled a three-pointer off the opening tip, then after forcing a turnover, fellow senior Arthur Bennett (Powder Springs, Ga.) connected on a layup to make it 5-0. Roddric Ross (Forest City, N.C.) then dropped another three-pointer on the Bears at the 19:22 mark to give JCSU the quick 8-0 lead.
Following a Shaw basket from Cameron Golden, Kirchman canned another three to make it 11-2. Bennett got a layup to fall followed by aCayse Minor (Winston-Salem, N.C.) jumper that made it 15-2 at the 17:41 mark.
Shaw closed to within 18-12 with 13:31 to play in the first, but JCSU responded again, this time using a 17-2 run to push the lead to 35-14 with 6:57 left. The Golden Bulls enjoyed their largest lead of the first half, 22 points (41-19) after senior Robert Davis (West Friendship, Md.)knocked down a jumper with 2:49 in the first half. Shaw then had a 11-4 spurt to close the half, with JCSU taking the 45-30 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Shaw trimmed the Golden Bull cushion to 45-33, but JCSU quickly extended the lead back to 17 points (53-35) after two Davis free throws at the 16:50 mark. The Golden Bulls built the lead to 23 points, (71-48), the largest of the game after Davis knocked down a three-pointer with 9:18 to play.
Down the stretch, JCSU was never seriously threatened. Shaw was able to cut the lead to nine points with 37 seconds to play, but JCSU hit three-of-four free throws in the final 19 seconds of the game to preserve the 93-83 win.
As a team, JCSU turned in their best shooting performance of the season, going 30-of-51 from the field (58.8%). JCSU also shot 7-of-18 from long range, good for 38.9%.
All five JCSU starters scored in double-figures, with Davis leading the way with 25 points. He was 8-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. A trio of JCSU players, Minor, Ross and Bennett, all scored 15 points, with Bennett hitting 7-of-9 shots, which is a career high. Ross and Minor each had identical 5-of-8 shooting efforts, with Minor hitting 3-of-5 from long range and Ross going 1-of-3.
Kirchman rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points, while dishing a team-high five assists.
With the win, the sixth-straight for JCSU, the Golden Bulls improve to 14-7 overall, 6-2 in CIAA play and a perfect 5-0 in Southern Division play while drops to 14-8, 7-4 in the CIAA and 3-2 in the Southern Division.
JCSU will continue the road trip, playing at Elizabeth City State on Monday, Feb. 5. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.