RICHMOND, VA - The Winston-Salem State Rams (1-5) gave a great effort, but some second half struggles cost the team in a hard-fought 84-81 loss to the Elizabeth City State Vikings (3-1) on the opening day of the 2017 Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Virginia Union University, SAturday afternoon. After taking a 50-37 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Rams were held to just 31 second half points to take the loss.
As a team, the Rams had a solid overall effort, but faded in criitical moments late to take the loss. The Rams took the loss in spite of shooting a hot 53.3% (24-45) from the floor in the game while holding the Vikings to shooting just 45.8% (27-of-59) in the game. The Rams also benefitted from a pair of stellar performances as sophomore guard Robert Colon scored a team-high 29 points in teh game while junior forward William Crandell added 27 points and nine rebounds in the loss. Junior forward Jamel McAllister added 12 points in the game as well.
Things looked good early as the Rams controlled nearly the entire first half of play. The team opened the game with an impressive start, taking a 15-7 lead after a pair of Colon free throws 14:15 left in the half. The Rams would allow the Vikings to briefly take the lead, 31-25 with 7:29 left in the half. But the Rams answered with a late surge to take control of the game. The Rams mounted a 17-3 run to go ahead, 42-33 with just over two minutes left in the half before a three-pointer from freshman guard Derick Brewer. Jr. left the Rams with a 50-37 halftime lead.
The second half saw a much different effort from the two teams. Through the early second half, Elizbeth City State chipped into the WSSU lead to leave the Rams leading by just four points, 64-60, after a McAllister free throw with 9:05 left to play. The Rams fell into their first deficit of the half after a pair of ECSU free throws with just under seven minutes to play. TRailing, 65-64, Colon answered with a lay-up to keep the Rams on top, but the team could not quite maintain their effort for the remainder of the game. A Brewer, Jr. three-pointer with eight seconds left to play was the only other WSSU field goal in the final six minutes of the game as the Rams took the 84-81 loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 1-5 overall this season. The team wil not have long to wait for their next action as the team will take on the host Virginia Union Panthers, tomorrow in a 4:00 p.m. game at Barco-Stevens Arena on the campus of Virginia Union University. For more information on Rams men's basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.