Johnson C. Smith was short on healthy bodies against Shaw but long on efficiency.
The Golden Bulls men’s basketball team outscored Shaw 25-13 over the final eight minutes to earn an 83-67 CIAA South win Saturday at Brayboy Gym. It was the team’s second victory in a row after four straight losses.
J.C. Smith (11-11, 5-6) got sterling performances from forward Emilio Parks, who pumped in a game-high 28 points, and swingman Diondre Pratt, who came off the bench for 20. The Golden Bulls shot a torrid 62.5 percent (30-of-48) from the floor.
“I’m just glad my teammates believed in me to actually still score and still play the way I played,” said Parks, who connected on 12 of 14 shots. “I’m glad they got me the ball tonight.”
Parks knew what to do in the post, taking the ball strong against Shaw’s bigger defenders with a deft touch from either side of the basket.
When he wasn’t getting to the rim, Pratt, forward Stedmon Lemon (17 points, four assists) and point guard Robert Davis (10 points, four assists) added balance. They all had a hand in the game-breaking run in which J.C. Smith went from a 58-54 lead to a blowout.
“Guys are stepping up and playing better,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Joyner said. “We’re looking for consistency from half to half, and especially in the late stages of ball games.”
Four Bears scored in double figures for Shaw (10-11, 5-6), paced by Joe Reid’s 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting and followed by John Savoy’s 13 points in a reserve role.
Shaw’s Larry Richardson added 12, and Koron Reed, 11. But at 40.6 percent accuracy in the second half, the Bears couldn’t keep pace down the stretch with J.C. Smith’s hot hand.
“When we went into the locker room, (Joyner) said we’re still not where we need to be, and we need to turn our intensity up,” Parks said. “We went up there and got it done. I’m not surprised. This is what we can do.”
J.C. Smith was strong offensively from the beginning, hitting 63 percent of its shots (17-of-27) to build a 45-38 gap at intermission. Parks pumped in 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting as the Golden Bulls went inside early and often to outscore Shaw 30-16 in the paint.
Lemon and Pratt provided balance with 11 points each, primarily off drives to the hoop. J.C. Smith led by as many as 10, but Shaw remained within shouting distance behind Richardson, who scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, followed by Savoy’s seven.
Both sides took relatively good care of the ball. The Golden Bulls converted seven Shaw turnovers into 16 points, while the Bears scored nine off six J.C. Smith miscues.