J.C. Smith is proving its resilience in the CIAA men’s basketball tournament.
Four Golden Bulls scored in double figures and rolled up a huge advantage at the free-throw line in an 82-63 second-round win against Virginia State on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. J.C. Smith (17-11), the CIAA South’s fifth seed, will play North No. 1 Bowie State at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Forward Emilio Parks was a force inside, picking up 21 points with 8-of-13 shooting before foul trouble forced him to the bench with 14 minutes, 36 seconds left and J.C. Smith ahead 49-38. It didn’t matter, with LaMarquis Letchaw scoring 16 of his 20 points in the second half, including all 14 free-throw attempts. Emerson Williams added 16 points and Antwan Wilkerson 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Golden Bulls, who hit half of their shots (22 of 44) compared to Virginia State’s 25-of-65 (38.5 percent).
Elijah Moore led Virginia State (14-13), the North’s fourth seed, with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Lamar Kearse added 11 points and Larry Savage 10.
The Golden Bulls opened the second half with a 14-4 run – Parks hit nine during that span – to grab a 47-32 lead with 16 minutes left. When he was forced to the bench, Virginia State made its move, cutting the deficit to 55-50 over the next seven minutes. J.C. Smith responded with an 11-5 uprising to end the threat, with the Golden Bulls making good on seven of eight free throws.
J.C. Smith led by as many as nine points in the first half before taking a 33-28 advantage into intermission, primarily through its defense. The Golden Bulls held Virginia State to 36.7 percent (11-of-30) shooting. The Golden Bulls connected on 13 of their 27 attempts, led by Parks’ 10 points with 3-for-6 field-goal tries and Emerson Williams’ nine on 4-for-6 tries.