Johnson C. Smith’s rebuilding project produced its first CIAA tournament victory.
The Golden Bulls, seeded fifth in the South Division, beat North No. 6 Chowan 57-49 in the opening round Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena, fulfilling J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner Jr.’s pledge to improve on last year’s 8-18 record and first-round exit.
“I could definitely take a deep breath with about 27 seconds left because that quote’s always been in the back of my head,” he said. “I had it on the front of the door in my office and it’s something I remind myself of every day.”
The Golden Bulls, who play South Division No. 2 seed Fayetteville State on Wednesday, survived a late Chowan run that cut J.C. Smith’s advantage to 47-43 with 5 minutes, 28 seconds left. The Golden Bulls maintained their advantage by outscoring the Hawks 10-6 down the stretch, converting all six free throws in the process.
Senior guard Karnina Bunch scored 15 points to lead J.C. Smith (14-12). Amena Brent added 11, and reserves Ashley Porter and Deanna Downer score eight each.
St. Augustine’s 57, Elizabeth City State 48
Jeanne-Marie Wilson and Victoria Davis combined for 23 points on 10-of-22 shooting to pace the Falcons (13-13). Dashera Boone led Elizabeth City State (7-19) with 10 points.
St. Augustine’s established control early, grabbing a 25-19 lead in the first half and holding Elizabeth City State to 17.2 percent shooting at the break. For the game, the Vikings shot 31 percent from the field (18-of-58) compared with St. Augustine’s 39.3 (22-of-56).
Virginia Union 73, Livingstone 50
The Panthers (9-15) jumped to a 32-16 lead at halftime and never looked back against the Blue Bears. Virginia Union’s Ashle Freeman led all scorers with 22 points while teammate Melyse Brown added 19 and Jasmin Darcy 15 in a reserve role.
Tiffany Evans paced Livingstone (12-14) with 14 points, followed by Asley Walker with 12 and Alexis Hicks with 10.
Lincoln (Pa.) 64, Winston-Salem State 62
Pam Zephrah made two free throws to put Lincoln ahead 63-62 with 42 seconds left and the Lions (12-15) survived a couple of Winston-Salem State tries at a go-ahead basket to secure the victory.
Zephrah scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting to lead Lincoln. Dionna Scott’s 19 was tops for Winston-Salem State (15-12).