Bulls turn Charlotte into ‘Smithtown’

By Tony McClean
Updated: March 2, 2008

CHARLOTTE — When it was all said and done, Saturday night’s CIAA title games was a perfect way for Johnson C. Smith to give outgoing school president Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy a great goodbye gift.

While the Lady Golden Bulls fell in the women’s final, the men and head Coach Steve Joyner brought home the school’s first tournament crown since 2001. The fourth-seeded Golden Bulls defeated upset-minded Fayetteville State 65-57 before a raucous crowd at Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

Ironically, it was the Broncos that JCSU defeated to win the crown in 2001.
“This team really came together towards the end of the season”, said Golden Bulls coach Joyner. “This is a great present for Dr. Yancey, we really wanted this for her for so many reasons” JCSU was led by the threesome of Edmund Rainey, Jerry Hollis, and Maurice Hooper.

Rainey, named the tournament’s MVP, scored 16 points while Hollis and Hooper added 15 points and 13 points, respectively, for the Golden Bulls (21-9), who led by as much as 14 in the second half before FSU’s Phillippe Harris and Andy Gebru sparked a rally.

Down 40-26 with 13:49 left, the Broncos used a 21-8 spurt to pull within 48-47 with 5:36 left. Harris and Gebru combined for 11 points including three three-pointers during the run. JCSU would counter with a 9-1 run capped by Rainey’s layup to open a 57-48 margin with 1:36 remaining to ice the win.
Hooper, along with senior center David Sanders were named to the all-tournament team. “I was really glad to see him (Rainey) come through, he really deserves it”, added coach Joyner.

Harris led the sixth-seeded Broncos (14-15) with a game-high 18 points including 4-of-8 three-point shooting and Gebru added 13. But FSU’s guard trio of Harris, Gebru and Jamel Austin (six assists) were 11-of-39 combined from the floor.

The trio had been the key for FSU’s previous tournament wins against Elizabeth City State and Bowie State. “These kids played so well these last two nights; it’s sometimes hard to muster up that effort a third”, said FSU head coach Sam Hanger.

“We have nothing to be ashamed of, we played hard. They stuck together, fought together, prayed together, and we’ll move on together.” The Bronco trio would also be named the all-tournament team as well.
With the CIAA’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division II tournament in hand, the Golden Bulls will now await next weekend pairings to see who they’ll meet next. “I saw the players take control of their basketball team,” Joyner said. “That’s important.”
In the women’s final, Shaw would take their fifth CIAA title in the last six seasons by avenging last year’s loss to J.C. Smith in the tournament quarterfinals. The top-seeded Lady Bears (21-11) used their pressure defense for a seventh overall league title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Division II tournament.
After JCSU (21-9) rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit to tie it at 40 on Shemika Jones’ put back with 13:45 left, Shaw turned to a trapping zone that completely shut down the Lady Golden Bulls.

Struggling just to get a shot off before the 30-second clock expired, the Bulls went nearly 11 minutes without scoring in Shaw’s 14-0 run. Jamie Gos hen added 13 points and Shana Andrus scored 12 in Shaw’s seventh straight win.

“We needed that one run to give us some time to breathe and get us to the finish line, and we did that tonight”, said Shaw head coach Jacquie Jones, who guaranteed a CI AA crown earlier in the year.

“It was all about redemption for us. I know that my players will always have my back because they know I like to talk.”

Karia Buford and Jones scored 11 points each for third-seed Johnson C. Smith, which shot 32 percent and committed 24 turnovers as it dropped to 0-4 against Shaw in CIAA title games.

Said JCSU head coach Vanessa Taylor, “I think there was poor execution for us offensively. It was frustrating to not be able to get over the hump.”