College Basketball

February 8, 2014

Fayetteville State completes season sweep of J.C. Smith for first time since 1994

Tyrell Tate and Fayetteville State finally vanquished J.C. Smith at Brayboy Gym.

Tyrell Tate and Fayetteville State finally vanquished J.C. Smith at Brayboy Gym.

Tate, a senior guard, delivered a three-point play with 14.3 seconds left to push the Broncos to a 71-66 CIAA South win on Saturday. Tate, who led Fayetteville State (17-6, 5-1) with 16 points despite 3-of-11 shooting, pumped in 10 in the second half as the Broncos swept J.C. Smith (13-9, 2-4) for the first time since 1994.

“It’s a big win because we’re a program on the growth and also because we’ve never beaten them here since I’ve been here. That makes it sweeter.”

The loss put a major dent in the Golden Bulls’ division aspirations and continued their stretch of inconsistency. Antwan Wilkerson poured in a game-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and Robert Williams added 13 for J.C Smith, which struggled to find an answer for the Broncos when it was needed most. Although Fayetteville connected on just 21-of-67 shots (31.3 percent), the Broncos’ 21-of-26 free throw shooting was much better than the Golden Bulls’ 13 of 24, including 8 for 18 in the second half.

“Terrible,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner said. “We practiced hard on free throws this week, but our concentration was not there. I thought we should’ve tried to get to the line a lot more, but certainly we went enough times to impact the ball game.”

Tate had a major impact at the end. With Fayetteville State clinging to a 66-63 lead, he scored on an isolation play for a three-point play with 14.3 seconds left that shut the door.

“My team always leans on me at the end of games in close games, just like I lean on them to keep us in the game,” Tate said. “They did their part, so I knew I had to do my part. The shot went in and I knew I was going to make the free throw.”

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, combining for 3 of 19 from beyond the arc and 25 turnovers, but Fayetteville State seized the initiative with a 13-4 run over the final five minutes to take a 29-28 lead at recess. The Broncos, who connected on 10-of-35 field goal attempts (28.6 percent), went to the hoop during the run while J.C. Smith, which hit 11-of-36 shots (30.6 percent), struggled down the stretch.

Wilkerson paced the Golden Bulls with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, while reserve guard Devin Thompson scored seven for the Broncos.

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