Junior guard LaMarquis Letchaw scored a team-high 20 points to lead the No. 5 seeded Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) Golden Bulls to an upset victory over the top-seeded Bowie State University (BSU) Bulldogs, 81-77, in the quarterfinals of the Central Interscholastic Athletic Association (CIAA) Men’s Basketball Tournament on Feb. 27 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
Johnson C. Smith will next face Winston-Salem State in the CIAA semifinals Friday night, Feb. 28.
Bowie State received first-round and second-round byes heading into the CIAAs after finishing the regular season with a 17-11 record, the top record in the CIAA North division. But the extra rest didn’t help the Bulldogs cool off a red-hot Johnson C. Smith team that had already knocked off Virginia Union and Virginia State in the opening rounds of the tourney.
The Golden Bulls built a comfortable lead over Bowie State within the first few minutes of the game and was leading by double digits by halftime. Bowie State fought hard in the second half to cut the lead back to single digits, but JCSU responded with just enough clutch shots made to hold on to the lead and win.
"Tough way to end the year [but] I thought the guys did a great job in the second half of coming back,” BSU head coach Darrell Brooks said, according to BSU Sports Information. “I give Johnson C. Smith credit; they made tough shots when they had to.”
The Golden Bulls had three players score double-digits in points, including Letchaw’s 20 points. Junior forward Emillio Parks followed Letchaw with 19 points and senior forward Antwan Wilkerson added 12 for Johnson C. Smith.
Bowie State senior guard Ray Gatling scored a game-high 24 points despite the loss; senior forward Carlos Smith finished with 12 points for BSU.
“I'm still really proud of my guys,” Brooks said. “They did a good job fighting through adversity. I'm proud; it's just tough to end the year this way."