Down time proved beneficial for J.C. Smith.
The Golden Bulls showed few ill effects from a two-week layoff in a 90-79 win against Lincoln (Pa.) in the CIAA opener Tuesday at Brayboy Gym, snapping a three-game losing skid. The issues that plagued J.C. Smith (5-4, 1-0 CIAA) during the streak – namely defense – were overcome for one night.
“I thought we were more consistent tonight than we were going into the exam break,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner said. “We had 17 field goals in the first half and 16 in the second, so that lets me know there was some parity between the two halves. We’re still concerned about our defense. They scored 50 second-half points.”
From the opening tap, J.C. Smith (5-4) controlled the pace with four Golden Bulls hitting double-figures. Stedmon Lemon led all scorers with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting, followed by Diondre Pratt’s 24 on 8-of-17. Josh Linson added 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range and Robert Davis chipped in 11.
Even with the post-halftime defensive lapses, J.C. Smith’s offense was more than sufficient. The Golden Bulls converted 55 percent of their shots (33-of-60) and handed out 30 assists to offset 17 turnovers.
“We understand what our liabilities are, we understand what our weak points are, and we’re trying to work on that,” Joyner said.
Lemon and Pratt paced J.C. Smith in the first half with 14 and 12 points respectively for a 43-29 halftime advantage. The Golden Bulls connected on 60.7 percent of their shots (17-of-28) and handed out 15 assists in the half as they moved the ball to open shooters. J.C. Smith’s perimeter game was sound, nailing 5-of-7 tries beyond the arc compared to Lincoln’s 3-of-13 and 10-of-29 overall.
Four players hit double-digits for Lincoln (2-6, 0-1), led by Quaman Burton’s 23 points, followed by Malachi Seney’s 13 and Charles Cooley with 12. Joshua Davis tossed in 11.