CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Blake Price buried the go-ahead bucket to help Elizabeth City State knock off Johnson C. Smith 65-63 in the quarterfinal round of the CIAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Arena.
With the game tied at 63, Price sank a layup with 29 seconds remaining to give the Vikings the lead for good. He drove the length of the floor as time was winding down on the shot clock and got a nice reverse layup off to put the Vikings ahead.
“We’re fortunate to be advancing,” said Elizabeth City head coach Shawn Walker. “This was a difficult game and we knew it would be difficult. Johnson C. Smith beat us in January by 30. Of course, we know they are a very good team and capable of doing it again. We’re very lucky to win and very blessed to be moving on and happy to be moving on.”
The Golden Bulls had several chances to make something happen in the latter stages of the game. After a failed lob attempt to Emilio Parks inside, ECSU’s Angelo Sharpless tapped the ball out of bounds to give the Golden Bulls another chance.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, the Golden Bulls didn’t get the shot they wanted but they were given another opportunity as the ball fell out of bounds once again with .07 left on the clock. A three-point shot by Joshua Linson was short as time expired.
“It was a bit of a miscommunication,” said Johnson C. Smith head coach Stephen Joyner, Sr. “I wanted a jump ball in the lane and Emilio went for the jump ball behind the defense, which was to their advantage. I really felt he could have gotten in front of the guy and out-jump the guy to get to the basket and have an opportunity to score the bucket. We didn’t get it done.”
The Vikings, the No. 2 seed from the Northern Division, were led by four players with double figures. Faulcon had a team-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting to lead the way for ECSU. Glenn Patterson added 11 while Price and Shaquil Barber contributed 10 apiece in the win. Angelo Sharpless, the CIAA Player of the Year, was limited to just eight points.
Johnson C. Smith, the No. 3 seed from the Southern Division, was led by Emilio Parks with 21 points, 13 of which came in the first half. Trevin Parks added 20, 18 of which came in the second half. Robert Williams added 14 points for the Golden Bulls to round out the double figure scorers.
The win advances Elizabeth City State to the semifinals where they will await the winner of Saint Augustine’s and Livingstone. That quarterfinal game will be played at 7:00 pm Thursday.
In the first half, Elizabeth City State rushed out to a 14-8 lead thanks to a pair of free throws from Blake Price at the 9:31 mark.
The Golden Bulls answered with a 9-0 run that gave them a five-point lead. During the run, Emilio Parks scored four points while Robert Williams had the other five to give the Golden Bulls a 19-14 advantage with 4:18 remaining.
The Vikings tied things up after going on a 5-0 run. A jumper from Sharpless tied things up at 19 with 2:40 left in the period.
Johnson C. Smith’s Antwan Wilkerson gave the Golden Bulls the lead back when he scored on a tip-in to make it 21-19. Elizabeth City State evened things once more when Dominique Byrd converted a layup at the 1:59 mark.
Emilio Parks, who had 13 points in the frame, scored the final three points of the half, giving his team a three-point lead. Barber cut it to one when he made a jump shot with 49 seconds left. His bucket made it 24-23 at halftime.
Both teams found their offensive rhythm in the second half as they combined for 81 points in the period. Elizabeth City State opened up the first six minutes of the second half on a 14-9 run to build a 37-33 lead.
Trevin Parks buried a three-pointer to bring the Golden Bulls within one with 13:44 remaining in the game. After a pair of free throws from Patterson pushed the Vikings’ lead back to three, Trevin Parks buried another three-pointer to tie the game at 39 with 13:08 remaining.
Elizabeth City State responded with a trey from Faulcon, which put the Vikings up 42-39. After a missed three-pointer by Johnson C. Smith, the Vikings extended their lead to five when Patterson converted a layup with 12:15 left in the game.
Emilio Parks brought the Golden Bulls within three when he made a layup at the 11:58 mark to make it 44-41. On the other end, Barber pushed it back to five when he made a jumper. Emilio Parks answered with a jumper of his own to bring JCSU’s deficit back to three at 46-43.
Faulcon buried a three-pointer to push the Vikings lead to six. A free throw by ECSU’s Jaron Moore gave the Vikings a 50-43 cushion with 10:03 remaining.
The Golden Bulls answered with a 10-2 run, thanks in large part to a three from Robert Williams and a pair from Trevin Parks. His trey at the 7:45 mark gave the Golden Bulls a 53-52 lead. Thirty-four seconds later, Barber sank a pair of free throws to give the Vikings the lead back at 54-53.
Emilio Parks’ dunk gave the Golden Bulls the 55-54 cushion. The Vikings regained the lead thanks to a jam from Byrd and a jumper from Barber, which made it 58-55 with 5:52 left.
After a jumper from Price extended Elizabeth City State’s lead to five at 60-55, the Golden Bulls responded with five quick points to tie the game. Wilkerson came up with a huge steal and made a lob to Trevin Parks while falling out of bounds. Parks took the ball down the floor and drove in for the layup to even things up at 60 with 3:07 left.
Sharpless gave the Vikings a 62-60 edge when he sank a pair of free throws before Linson buried a fade away jumper to tie the game once again.
Each team traded a free throw to make it a 63-63 ballgame with 58 ticks remaining. Twenty-nine seconds later, Price hit what would be the game-winning layup to help the Vikings advance to the semifinals.