J.C. Smith’s Golden Bulls got everything they wanted in the regular season finale.
They locked up the CIAA Southern Division top seed and sent five seniors out with a win in a 102-92 victory against Shaw Saturday at Brayboy Gym, which put them in the quarterfinals of next week’s league tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena.
“I’m at a loss for words,” said senior forward Stedmon Lemon, who led all scorers with 31 points and 11 rebounds. “It still hasn’t hit me. “We fought for it. Shaw and Winston (-Salem State) beat us in the first round of the Southern Division, so it was very important for us to come out and get these last two wins.”
The senior class had a major impact on the win for J.C. Smith (14-11, 7-3). Aside from Lemon’s outburst, guard Diondre Pratt scored 21 and handed out a team-high seven assists while center Alandre Davis added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and three blocks. Sophomore point guard Robert Davis chipped in 15 points, best among the underclassmen.
“It’s a grand finale,” Pratt said. “It’s a great way to go out. It’s something I’ve talked about since my freshman year.”
“We put in a body of work, especially in January and February and it’s good to be rewarded for the work you’ve put in,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Joyner said. “We’re still growing and we’re still learning to make sure we’re ready for that CIAA tournament.”
Three who mattered
Stedmon Lemon: He scored 17 of his game-high 31 points in the second half.
David Madol: The Shaw guard finished with 27 points and hit 5-of-12 three-point tries.
Malik Ford: The J.C. Smith sophomore center connected on all four shots for eight points off the bench.
▪ J.C. Smith outscored Shaw 50-36 in the paint.
▪ The Golden Bulls connected on 58.3 percent of their second half shots to finish at 46.3 percent for the game.
▪ J.C. Smith turned the ball over seven times while scoring 20 points off 16 Shaw miscues.
▪ Shaw led 39-32 with 2:53 left in the first half but was outscored 9-2 to trail at intermission.
▪ Shaw earned the CIAA Southern’s No. 3 seed.
▪ Lemon finished second in CIAA scoring at 20.3 points per game.
▪ J.C. Smith has won four of its last five games.
They said it
“I’m excited for this group that won the Southern Division.” – Joyner
“My senior year, my last game at Brayboy, to finally get that (division championship) means a lot.” – Pratt
“We wanted to keep fight and not go backward. Just hang on to that lead.” – Lemon