CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Despite a game-high 27 points from junior guard Randall Shaw, the Anderson men's basketball team opened a three-game road swing with a 72-69 loss at Johnson C. Smith, Tuesday night at Brayboy Gymnasium.
In the first-ever meeting between the two programs, the Trojans suffered their third straight three-point setback and fell to 1-5 on the season, while Johnson C. Smith (7-2) extended its win streak to four games.
Shaw scored 16 of his game-high effort in the second half and was a season-high 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. Junior guard Gage Ellis added 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, with guard Maurice Howard netting eight points and dishing out a season-high eight assists. The senior from Saluda, S.C., equaled a career high by grabbing nine rebounds. Freshman guard Josh Livingston tallied nine points and four boards in the loss, while Jeremy Bouton shared game-high rebounding honors with nine.
HOW IT HAPPENED
While Johnson C. Smith misfired on their first four field goal attempts, the Trojans used accuracy from the charity stripe to build an early 7-1 advantage inside the first three minutes of the contest.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well from the field, with AU connecting on just two of its first seven shots and the Golden Bulls netting just four of their first 10 attempts.
The Trojans held the lead for nearly the first six minutes, but JCSU chipped away and knotted the score for the first time of the night, at 10 apiece, with 13:27 on the clock. Andrew Boynton answered quickly with a trey on the other end for the Black and Gold, but the Golden Bulls responded by sandwiching a pair of 3-pointers around a deuce from Rakish Taylor to take a 16-15 lead – their first since the opening moments of the contest.
Shaw connected on a 3-pointer from deep in the right corner to ignite a 12-3 outburst over the next three-plus minutes for the Trojans and the Greenville, S.C., added two more baskets during the surge. But after the Trojans built a 27-19 lead with 7:27 on the clock, Johnson C. Smith countered with eight unanswered points as part of a 12-2 run that gave the Golden Bulls a 31-29 edge with more than three minutes left in the half.
The score was knotted three more times in the final 2:39 of the frame, with Johnson C. Smith holding a 36-34 edge at the break.
After the Golden Bulls scored the first four points and built their largest lead of the contest, at 42-35, AU rattled off eight unanswered points behind five points from Howard and took a 43-42 lead at the 17:03 mark on a 3-pointer by Ellis from the top of the key.
Neither team was able to build more than a two-possession lead over the remainder of the game, with JCSU's Cayse Minor connecting on his lone triple of the night from the left side to snap a 65-65 deadlock with 3:23 remaining to give the Golden Bulls a lead they would not surrender.
The Trojans trimmed the deficit to 70-67 on a pair of free throws from Ellis with 1:49 on the clock, but AU was unable to connect on the equalizer and JCSU was 3-of-4 from the line in the final 28 seconds to seal the win.
• Tonight's game marked the first meeting in program history between the Trojans and Golden Bulls.
• The score was tied 14 times and the lead changed hands 16 times.
• Andrew Boynton is a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe on the season.
• Jeremy Bouton has pulled down at least eight rebounds in each of the last three games.
• AU won the rebounding battle, 40-28.
• Randall Shaw has reached double-figure scoring in all six games.
• AU was 8-of-10 from the line in the first half.
• The Trojans committed a season-high 20 turnovers, which led to 16 JCSU points.
The Trojans play the middle game of the road swing by visiting Southern Wesleyan on Thursday. AU knocked off the Warriors, 92-75, in the season opener for both teams back on Nov. 10. Tip-off versus SWU in Central, S.C., is set for 7:30 p.m.