CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Johnson C. Smith University erased a six-point deficit in the second half to outlast Saint Augustine’s University, 70-68 during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men’s Basketball Quarterfinal Round Wednesday night in the Bojangles Coliseum.
In a tightly contested first half, both teams were evenly matched. The Falcons took a 10-8 lead on a 3-pointer from Nilous Hodge at the 13:59 mark. SAU then increased its lead to four points on a jumper from Karaan Clemonts but both teams would go cold from the floor until JCSU’s Trevor Lewis snapped the scoring drought for the Golden Bulls with two made free throws and 9:57 on the game clock.
The game tied for the fourth time until Saint Augustine’s regained the lead with four-straight points on free throw shots from Rashad George. The Golden Bulls closed the gap to one point twice but over the course of two minutes, the Falcons extended its lead to nine (31-22) – its largest of the half on a 13-7 run to close out the first half with a 31-25 stand over Johnson C. Smith.
JCSU opened the second half on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 31-even as the Falcons finally scored its first basket of the half at the 16:20 mark with two free throws from Clemonts. In similar fashion of the first half, the second stanza would continue to be a back-and-forth battle between both teams as the game tied six times and four lead changes.
After the games tenth tie of the night, JCSU took the lead after a Cayse Minor 3-point play that led to the Golden Bulls scoring six straight points to lead 63-57 with 50 seconds remaining in regulation. The Falcons continued to fight, pulling within one point on an 8-3 spread that included four made freebies but two possessions later, a critical turnover by SAU resulted in the Golden Bulls going to the line for two where Nenad Milenkovic iced both to secure the win just before the Falcons Clemonts banked a 3-pointer as time expired.
Minor was named the Food Lions MVP with 25 points and four rebounds while Milenkovic added 19 points highlighted by 11-of-14 shooting from the free-throw line.
Clemonts was the leading scorer for Saint Augustine’s with 19 points and eight rebounds while Hodge chipped in 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Donte Edwards went 12-for-12 from the free-throw line for 12 points total to round out the double-figure scoring for the Falcons who conclude their season 12-18 overall.