J.C. Smith made converting twos greater than the three.
The Golden Bulls connected on 61.5 percent of their shots and outscored King (Tenn.) 46-8 in the paint to cruise to a 79-69 nonconference win Saturday at Brayboy Gym. J.C. Smith (7-2) countered the Tornado’s 18-of-43 accuracy on three-point shots by going inside, especially to forward Emilo Parks, who pumped in a season-high 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting. Guard LaMarquis Letchaw added 17 points for the Golden Bulls.
“(Golden Bulls coach Steve Joyner) stressed that a lot tonight,” said Parks, who averages 13.5 points per game. “We watched a lot of film and scouted them and they don’t play the middle inside the zone well.”
J.C. Smith exploited the opportunity, getting the ball in the painted area to Parks and frontcourt mate Antwan Wilkerson, who finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Parks was especially dominant in the second half with 15 points without missing any of his six shot attempts. As a team, the Golden Bulls connected on 32-of-52 shots.
“If (Joyner) strives to go inside, then I have to make sure I do my part,” Parks said. “Whether it’s scoring 25 points or 15 points, I’m still doing my job.”
The Tornados, who shot 40.4 percent (23-of-57) from the floor had three players hit double-figures, led by Logan Lyle’s 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting beyond the arc while teammate Scottie Hendricks went 5-of-10 from three-point range. Hunter LeVeau added 14 points on 4-of-8 three-pointers
King (4-6) stayed in contention with hitting from beyond the arc. Five straight three-pointers pulled the Tornado to its only lead of the game at 45-44 with 16 minutes left, but Parks responded with a pair of three-point plays to push J.C. Smith in front for good. The Golden Bulls hit 15-of-24 shots (62.5 percent) from the floor after intermission.
“When we got the lead, they came at us and we just folded,” King coach George Pitts said. “It was boys playing men tonight. No. 31 (Parks) is a man. They beat us on penetration and then they found No. 31.”
Said Joyner: “There was a period where a lack of understanding led to them coming back,” Joyner said. “But we went back out and recaptured the lead and did some good things. We’re still a work in progress, and hopefully we’ve gotten that Wingate loss (90-89 in overtime on Monday) out of our system.”
J.C. Smith sizzled from the outset, connecting on 60.7 percent (17-of-28) of its shots in the first half to take a 39-30 lead at the break. Parks led the way with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, primarily in the paint, and nine rebounds for the Golden Bulls, while LaMaquis Letchaw and Wilkerson chipped in eight and six points each. J.C. Smith’s bench also contributed with Alandre Davis scoring six points in three minutes while Kameko Walls added five.
King hung tough despite hitting just 11-of-34 shots in the opening half, primarily by scoring beyond the arc. The Tornado nailed 8-of-25 shots from three-point range, with three players hitting two each. Starters Hendricks and Lyle scored six points each for King while reserves LeVeau and C.J. Good matched them.
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