Elizabeth City State turned out to be a much better team in its rematch against J.C. Smith.
The Vikings, who lost by 32 points to the Golden Bulls on Jan. 12 at Brayboy Gym, advanced to the CIAA tournament men’s semifinals with a 65-63 win Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Blake Price’s running one-handed shot with 29.7 seconds remaining provided the margin of victory in a game that produced 11 lead changes and 12 ties. The Vikings (17-10) limited J.C. Smith guard Trevin Parks to 20 points – a dozen fewer than in their first game.
“They got 89 the first time; we got 57,” Vikings coach Shawn Walker said. “We got eight more points than the last time and we kept Trevin Parks from getting 30. That was important.”
Elizabeth City State, the North Division’s No. 2 seed, succeeded by picking up the offensive pace in the second half, connecting on 15-of-26 shots (57.7 percent) after going 8 for 24 (33.3) in the first and spreading the scoring.
Four Vikings hit double figures, with reserve guards Miykael Faulcon, Shaquil Barber and Price combining for 37 points on 13-of-19 shooting. Faulcon led Elizabeth City State with 17 points in 17 minutes, making good on 6-of-9 attempts. Glenn Patterson was the only starter to get to double digits with 11 points.
“For us, what was most important was we started to run our man-to-man offense against that (J.C. Smith) zone,” Walker said. “That zone gives us a lot of problems and it was our biggest concern. The first time around, we didn’t get any good shots at all.”
J.C. Smith (16-11) forced a 63-all deadlock on Emilio Parks’ free throw with 59.4 seconds left and had a couple of chances to break the tie after Price’s basket. The Golden Bulls, who were the South’s third seed, went 14-of-26 from the floor in the second half but stumbled at the free throw line, going 4 of 13 after halftime.
“You hope your players are prepared,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner said. “Maybe that was an area we were not prepared in. When you get to the tournament, there are no second-chance opportunities.”
Emilio Parks led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, followed by Trevin Parks’ 20 and Emerson Williams with 14, but Elizabeth City State made the plays it needed to move on.
“There’s not much difference between Johnson C. Smith and us,” Walker said. “They have a great player and we have one (forward Angelo Sharpless, who was limited to eight points). They’re a very good team and we were fortunate to win.”
Both sides struggled offensively in the first half, with J.C. Smith hitting 38.5 percent (10 of 26) of its shots to hold a 24-23 lead at the break. The Golden Bulls leaned heavily on Emilio Parks, who scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting while Trevin Parks was limited to a basket on 1-of-6 shooting from the floor.
“Emerson Williams came on early on and shot the 3-point ball well to give us some opportunities,” Joyner said. “But we still struggled and then Trevin started to settle down a little bit and got his game going. Unfortunately, a couple of fouls didn’t go his way, a couple of charging fouls in particular.”