ECSU Survives Furious Run By JCSU To Advance To The Semifinals.
CHARLOTTE – Angelo Sharpless finished in double figures as
Elizabeth City State survived a furious comeback attempt by Johnson
C. Smith in knocking off the Golden Bulls, 64-56, during the
quarterfinals of the CIAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Time
Warner Cable Arena.
Elizabeth City State, the third seed from the Northern Division, advances to Friday’s semifinal game against the winner of Bowie State/Livingstone at 7 p.m. The Vikings dropped a pair of regular season games to Bowie State (89-64 on Jan. 23 and 70-62 on Feb.), but defeated Livingstone (67-63) on Jan. 5.
“I am happy to get the win,” Elizabeth City State head coach Shawn Walker said. “I knew it was going to be a tough game and knew they (Johnson C. Smith) weren’t going to go away. We have lost games like this before. We may have done some clock watching tonight. Johnson C. Smith is a dangerous team. We certainly feel like we are a championship team.”
Sharpless, who has scored in double figures in 23 of the 27 games this season, led the Vikings with a double-double, 23 points and 14 rebounds. He also had three blocks, one steal and one assist. Glenn Patterson chipped in with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting as Elizabeth City State was 22-of-51 from the field for 43 percent.
“We never put our heads down,” Sharpless said about the Johnson C. Smith second-half run. “We knew if we grabbed rebounds and made free throws that we would be able to win.”
Elizabeth City State (14-13), which defeated Johnson C. Smith for the second time this season, shot 67 percent during the first nine minutes to grab a 21-7 advantage after a Blake Price jumper with 10:56 remaining in the opening half. The Vikings tried to climb back into the game and used a small 6-0 run, capped by an Antwan Wilkerson dunk with 7:14 left to cut the margin to 21-13.
But the Vikings continued to shoot very well from the floor and extended the advantage to 28-15 after a Quintin Spady three with 5:03 remaining.
Elizabeth City State, which shot a season-best 65 percent from the floor in the first half, out-scored Johnson C. Smith during the final five minutes, 7-4, to take a 35-19 advantage into the break and held the Golden Bulls to a season-low 19 points in a half.
Johnson C. Smith (12-15) trimmed the margin to 37-23 after a Trevin Parks layup, but the Vikings used a 12-5 run, capped by a Sharpless free throw to give Elizabeth City State a commanding 49-28 lead with 13:18 remaining.
The Golden Bulls refused to go away quietly and climbed back into the game behind a furious 20-4 run as Trevin Parks scored on a layup to cut the deficit to 53-48 with 6:36 left.
A bucket by Paul Goldsmith gave the Vikings a 56-48 lead with just over four minutes remaining. However, the Golden Bulls got free throws by Calvin Smith and James Otey to trim the margin to 56-52 with 2:45 left.
After a loose ball foul on Elizabeth City State, Parks sank a pair at the charity stripe to climb two within two, 56-54, with 2:07 remaining.
The large deficit was just too much to overcome as Elizabeth City State, which had just five field goals in the final 13 minutes, got baskets by Patterson, Marquie Cook and a dunk by Sharpless to put the game away.
Parks led the Golden Bulls with 16 on 4-of-19 shooting.
“We made it really tough on Parks,” Walker said. “We just wanted to make him work. We wanted to load up on him in the middle. He is going to make some shots and is very capable of scoring 40 on any given night.”
Besides Parks 16 points, Delonta Boyd added 11 points, seven boards, two steals and one block as Johnson C. Smith shot 27 percent (15-of-55) from the floor and was perfect (23-of-23) from the free-throw line.
“We were out-played, out-hustled and out-coached today,” Johnson C. Smith head coach Stephen Joyner Sr., said. “I thought Elizabeth City played with great passion and understanding in the first half. We just weren’t able to bring this team together.”