CHARLOTTE, NC -- Winston-Salem State's LaMar Monger scored a game high 32 points to lead the WSSU Rams to a 97-85 win over Belmont Abbey College in the first of two games in the Queens Final Fire Classic.
The Rams will face the hosts, the Royals of Queens University of Charlotte at 8:00 pm on Saturday night. The game will be played at Ovens Athletics Center on the QUC campus.
Neither team could really gain any momentum in the first half as the scoring went back and forth. The Rams did use the 14 first half turnovers by the Crusaders, as WSSU converted those turnovers into 15 points, and led the battle of both the rebounding and points in the paints, as the Rams held a 27-19 rebounding advantage and a 22-14 points in the paint advantage in the first half.
Winston-Salem State would close out the first stanza with an 11-2 run led by seven points, including a monster alley-oop dunk from Justin Glover thrown from Marcus Wells, and two WyKevin Bazemore put backs to give the Rams 47-38 lead heading into intermission.
The Crusaders would come out hot in the second half and make a run at the Rams, and eventually took a brief 68-66 lead, before WSSU would buckle down on defense, and force Belmont Abbey turnovers and bad shots, as Bobby Collins' Rams took over.
Monger exploded for 20 second half points in finishing with 32 points, on 10 of 15 shooting and nine of 11 from the free throw line. Joining Monger in double figures was Justin Glover with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, while WyKevin Bazemore added 12 points and seven rebounds. Stephon Platt chipped in 11 points and three rebounds, while Marcus Wells filled the stat sheet with 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and five steals. Joe Thompson added six points and nine rebounds to go with three blocked shots.
Kyle Phillips led Belmont Abbey with 18 points, while Ryan Conrad added 17. Terrone Sheffey chipped in 14 points and Jay Council added 10. Darryl Durham and Tim Mason pulled down seven rebounds each for the Crusaders.
WSSU will face the Queens University Royals (3-0) who defeated the Georgia College Bobcats Friday night, 71-58.
The Royals were led by Daniel Bailey and Brandon Nichols who each scored a game-high 19 points. Brent Evans finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Sean Eads dished out four assists and collected three steals in the win. The defending Conference Carolinas Regular Season Champion Royals cracked the top-25 of the NABC/Division II men's basketball pre-season coaches poll. Queens University of Charlotte ranked even higher at No. 15 on the Basketball Times list.
Saturday's game versus Queen's University of Charlotte can be heard online at http://www2.queens.edu/sportstats/, and watched online at http://www.b2livetv.com/partner_members.asp?id=399&s=5817&sid=4.
For more information on all Winston-Salem State Ram Sports, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.