Johnson C. Smith Bulls win second straight CIAA title

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.–Johnson C. Smith forward Jerry Hollis understood well what it would take for the Golden Bulls to knock off Virginia Union for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship men’s basketball championship Saturday

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–Johnson C. Smith forward Jerry Hollis understood well what it would take for the Golden Bulls to knock off Virginia Union for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship men’s basketball championship Saturday night.

Hollis, playing among two of the league’s top scorers in James Dillard and Ryan Scott, knew it would take a rounded effort from himself for Smith, seeded third, to defend its league crown.

Hollis delivered in the 36 minutes he played, leading Smith with 19 points and three blocks in a 70-63 victory.

“I had to come to my full potential tonight,” said Hollis, who added five rebounds and a steal for Smith, which led nearly wire-to-wire against a team that swept them during the regular season. Scott added 13 points and Tavaris Little 12 for the Golden Bulls (23-7).

Offense won out on Saturday, with a boost from Smith’s defense, which contributed five blocks. With Smith leading 62-58 with 1:21 left, Scott brought the ball to the top of the key, delivered a crossover dribble and made a straightaway three-pointer that put Smith up by seven. Less than two minutes later, the Smith’s band bore triumphantly into “The Hay in the Middle of the Barn,” and the Golden Bulls celebrated their third CIAA title ever.

Smith managed six steals – five in the first five minutes – and maintained a lead by having its players position themselves in ideal spots for blocks.

Smith’s post players defended well on the perimeter early, and Smith adjusted back when Virginia Union began to exploit the space inside.

“The purest form of action is instinct,” said Smith coach Steve Joyner, who saw his school’s women’s squad capture its own crown by beating Bowie State in the afternoon.

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