The Johnson C. Smith University Golden Bulls (10-16) wasted little time in taking control when the team took a dominating 84-66 win over the Elizabeth City State Vikings (2-22), Tuesday evening in the first round of the 2017 CCIAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. There were some impressive performances on both ends of the court throughout the game, but in the end, JCSU’s smoking hot first half proved to be too much for the Vikings to overcome.
Both teams gave a tremendous effort in the game but the JCSU offense took center stage by shooting 50.0% (28-of-56) from the floor, overshadowing a solid performance by ECSU, who shot 36.7% (22-of-60). JCSU was led by the trio of junior guard Christian Kirchman (Roanoke, Va.), who scored a career-high 29 points while junior guard Robert Davis (West Friendship, Md.) added 21 points and junior forward
Gabon Williams (Charlotte, N.C.) added 12 points with eight rebounds. JCSU senior forward
Christian Williams (Chesapeake, Va.) also had a productive outing, as he pulled in a career-high 15 rebounds. ECSU was led by senior guard Elon Edwards’ 16 points while fellow senior forward Kyree Marshall added 12 points.
Johnson C. Smith jumped out to an early lead a forced ECSU to attempt a rally late in the first half. The game was an even affair early in the first half with the two teams playing to an 14-14 tie before the Vikings went on a five-point run to go ahead, 19-14 after a lay-up from senior forward Jordan Jones. It was then that Johnson C. Smith came alive, mounting a 14-4 run that put the team on top, 29-23 with 7:55 left to play in the half. JCSU would later go on a 14-3 run that pushed the lead to 43-26 after a Kirchman three-pointer with 4:26 left to play in the half. JCSU would go on to push their lead to as many as 22 points, 52-30 with 1:55 left to play in the half. ECSU would clamp down on defense to hold JCSU to 52 points and scored a basket to take a 52-32 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
While Johnson C. Smith controlled much of the first half, the Golden Bulls found themselves having to fend off a furious second half rally by the Vikings. Elizabeth City State opened the half with a hot start, scoring seven straight points as a pair of free throws from senior forward Matthew McIntosh capped the scoring run and cut the Vikings’ deficit down to 13 points, 52-39 with 17:49 left in the game. Johnson C. Smith would have an answer later in the game when the team went on an 8-2 run that pushed the JCSU lead back to 17 points, 62-45, on a Kirchman lay-up with 11:52 left in the game. Elizabeth City State would make another run later in the game when a jumper from senior guard Javonte Miles cut the team’s deficit down to 15 points, 68-53 with 7:06 left. However, JCSU answered with a 7-1 run of their own to go back out, 75-54 on a three-pointer from Davis with 5:17 left to play. Elizabeth City State’s last stand came in the form of a 7-2 late run that was capped by a Miles three-pointer with 1:26 left to play to cut their deficit down to 14 points, 80-66. In the end, JCSU went four-for-four from the free throw line to seal the 84-66 victory.
With the win, JCSU improves to 11-16 overall while the Vikings finish the season with a at 2-23. The Golden Bulls will advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2017 CIAA Tournament to take on the Northern Division #4 seeded Bowie State Bulldogs. Tip time is schedule for 8:50 p.m. atBojangles Coliseum.