WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (2-7) played a great game for over 39 minutes, but the team could not quite reach the full 40 when they took a 76-73 loss to the Claflin Panthers (9-1), Monday evening. With a tied score with just four seconds left to play, the Rams allowed a Panther three-pointer to seal the team's loss.
The Rams took the loss in spite of a solid offensive effort in the game. As a team, the Rams shot a solid 44.0% (22-of-50) from the field in the game as well as shooting 77.8% (21-of-27) from the free throw line. WSSU junior forward William Crandell led the way for the team in the loss with 17 points and eight rebounds while senior guard James Rucker, II added 16 points off the bench for the Rams.
Things looked good early for the Rams with the team controlling most of the early first half. Claflin got the game started with a strong start with three dunks in the first three minutes of play to leave the Rams trailing 6-2 with 17:33 left in the half. From there, the Rams soon got back into the game with a stellar defensive performance. The Rams held the Panthers without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes and took an 18-9 lead. The Rams would push their lead to as many as 13 points, 34-21 with 1:28 left. From there, the Rams cruised to the 35-26 halftime lead.
The second half turned out to be a roller coaster for both teams. Things looked great early for the Rams as a three-pointer from Rucker, II left the Rams on top, 51-31 with 15:48 left to play. Though Claflin began to chip away, the Rams were able to stay in control of the game, 64-53 with 8:23 left to play. It was then that the Rams went cold as the team had just one more field goal for the remainder of the game. A Crandell lay-up with 1:52 left to play left the Rams on top, 71-69, but soon the team found themselves in a tied game., 73-73 with 11 seconds left to play and set the stage for a Claflin three-pointer with just four seconds left to play. Colon had a chance for a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, but the shot was off and ended the Rams' night with the tough loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 2-7 overall. The team will return to action, Saturday when the team hosts Piedmont International in a 4:00 p.m. game. 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.