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J.C. Smith needs best players to step up productivity and leadership
Ross, Minor need to be at their best to win
 
Published Monday, January 14, 2019 7:33 am
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Cayse Minor led Johnson C. Smith with 20 points against Elizabeth City State Saturday, but it wasn't enough in a 76-63 loss. The Golden Bulls (3-8, 1-4 CIAA) play Virginia State Monday at Brayboy Gym.

Johnson C. Smith basketball will go as far as their best players.

Saturday’s 76-63 loss to CIAA North foe Elizabeth City State defines their limitations. JCSU’s top scorers – guard Cayse Minor and forward Roddric Ross – combined for 32 points, but only four over the final 11 minutes, 32 seconds when the Golden Bulls (3-8, 1-4 CIAA) held an 11-point lead. The bottom line is when they aren’t scoring, JCSU struggles.

“We can’t survive,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Joyner said. “We talked about the big three – [Aaron] Adair, Minor and Ross – and they need to do a better job of leading the team. That’s something I talked about [recently], that they were having trouble with that type of role and certainly they had a big problem with it [against ECSU].”

Even with the early offensive punch from Minor, who led the Golden Bulls with 20 points on 4-of-15 shooting, they struggled to get the ball into the hoop. JCSU connected on 18-of-61 shots against the Vikings (29.5 percent), including 7of-28 (25 percent) in the second half. Although the Golden Bulls committed only 12 turnovers compared to ECSU’s 18, the Vikings had a better conversion rate with 19 points against JCSU’s 18. The Golden Bulls, who haven’t won consecutive games this season, led 36-30 at halftime, but fell flat afterward. They'll get another chance Monday against Virginia State in an cross-division game at Brayboy Gym.

“I was disappointed because I thought we were making progress from last ball game,” Joyner said of Thursday’s 61-54 win against Chowan. “Through the first half we looked OK, but I cautioned our team at halftime about what needed to happen, what could happen and we didn’t react. In fact, it was a total collapse. That concerns us [because] we’ve seen it before.”

In order to make some headway in an underperforming CIAA South, the Golden Bulls need to develop complementary play to support Ross and Minor. It would also help to streamline the offense, which labored against Elizabeth City down the stretch.

“It was 90 percent lack of understanding and execution,” Joyner said. “We didn’t how to run a play, when to run a play and get the shot when we needed to. Taking nothing away from Elizabeth City, they began to see that and started putting their hands in passing lanes, but still no execution from us.”

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