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J.C. Smith basketball looks to close January with a rush
Golden Bulls 4-1 in the new year
 
Published Wednesday, January 22, 2020 10:18 am
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Johnson C. Smith guard Cayse Minor (0) leads the Golden Bulls in scoring at 18.3 points per game, fourth best in the CIAA. He also leads the team in 3-point shooting at 34% and free throws percentage (84.8%).

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Johnson C. Smith is in position to contend for the CIAA South lead a month ahead of the league tournament.


The Golden Bulls (11-5 overall, 5-3 conference) are a game out of first heading into Saturday’s 4 p.m. game against Virginia Union (11-8, 4-2 CIAA North) at Brayboy Gym. JCSU, which trails Winston-Salem State in the South, have won four of five in January, including three in a row with a 77-72 road victory Jan. 18 against Livingstone. Virginia Union, which is second in the North, routed the Golden Bulls 84-54 in Richmond on Dec. 18.


In order to reverse the outcomes, JCSU will have to make shots. The Golden Bulls converted 16-of-60 field goal tries (26.7%) and 4-of-29 3-pointers against Union, both season lows. Defensively, they broke down in the second half, allowing the Panthers to hit 18-of-32 shots (56.2%) and 8-of-14 from 3-point range (57.1%) as Virginia Union outscored JCSU 51-24 after the break.

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Part of JCSU’s overall success is turning free throw opportunities into points. The Golden Bulls have 328 conversions in 457 tries (71.8%), only five fewer than opponents’ total attempts (232-of-333). That disparity has helped in January, where they are 3-1 in games decided by five points or less.


As usual, senior shooting guard Cayse Minor is key to JCSU’s success. He’s averaging a team-high 18.1 points per game, which is fourth in the CIAA and connecting on 44.6% of his shots as well as leading the Golden Bulls in 3-point shooting (32-of-94) and free throws at 84.8% (95-of-112).


Nenad Milenkovic provides the complimentary punch at 11.1 points per game and a capable 3-point threat at 24-of-72 beyond the arc, which is second to Minor. Another key for the Golden Bulls is bench scoring. Against Livingstone, JCSU’s reserves outscored the Blue Bears 23-8, which helped offset a 30-point effort by Livingston guard Roger Ray.

 

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Virginia Union is 3-4 in January, with a two-game win streak on the heels of a four-game slide. The Panthers are paced by Terrell Leach, whose 22.0 points per game average is second in the league. Jordan Peebles averages 12.5 points per outing.

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