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Golden Bulls win with D, sharing
6-1 J.C. Smith off to best start since 2008-09
 
Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013 2:47 pm
by Herbert L. White

Johnson C. Smith basketball is akin to a bumblebee: The engineering appears flawed, but it flies nonetheless.

The Golden Bulls are a surprising 6-1 after beating cross-town rival Queens 56-53 on Monday, their best start since the 2008-09 season. JCSU doesn’t have a definite offensive identity, but improvisation and defense are enough to win.  

“As long as this group plays together, they can be pretty good,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Joyner said. “We’re lacking in some areas. Sometimes we’re lacking on the boards, sometimes we’re lacking in outside shooting, but one thing that has been constant and pretty good is defense, and it’s collective defense.”

Joyner credited guard LaMarquis Letchaw and swingman Emerson Williams as top defenders for the Golden Bulls, who limited opponents to 68.5 points per outing going into Monday’s game. On offense, JCSU doesn’t have a dominant scorer, but is effectively cobbling double-digit contributions from Williams, Letchaw and forwards Emilio Parks and Antwan Wilkerson. The key, however, Joyner insists, is defense, which is becoming this team’s identity.

“If we can continue to play good collective defense, I think we’ve got a chance to win,” he said. “If we play to our strengths, if we play with understanding.”

Rivalry nearly even

The rivalry between Queens and JCSU dates back to 1990 and has been fairly even. The Golden Bulls lead the all-time series 9-7 and Monday’s win broke a three-game win streak by the Royals, who had JCSU’s attention to the point of distraction. 

Neither team shot well, which Joyner said may have been the result of trying too hard against a rival. 

“I think some of that had something to do with it,” Joyner said. “Guys tried to assert themselves individually early, and I think that was because ‘Hey, I want to do something to Queens, I want to take Queens out,’ and they were not doing it collectively. I think the rivalry attitude is there and I think it’s understood on both sides.”

 

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