ETTRICK, VA – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-7, 2-2 CIAA) staged a late comeback, but the team came up short in a 78-73 road loss to the #17 Virginia State Trojans (12-1, 2-1 CIAA), Friday evening. The Rams trailed for much of the second half, but tied the game in the final minutes of play, but the team could not get the win as the Trojans hit some key shots and free throws to hand the Rams the loss.
The Rams took the loss in spite of a solid overall effort. As a team, the Rams shot a hot 50.0% (28-of-56) in the loss, but the Trojans had an equally hot shooting night, shooting 52.5% (32-of-61). WSSU sophomore guard Robert Colon led the way for the Rams with 21 points off the bench while junior forward William Crandell added 13 points in the game with a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Julius Barnes also added 11 points as well.
In the first half, the Rams came out with a strong start with some impressive performances at both ends of the court. IN the early going, the game belonged to the home-standing Trojans who scored seven early points to take the lead. However, the Rams erased their deficit to claim their first lead, 13-12 after a Jamel McAllister lay-up with 12:17 left in the first half. The Rams' lead didn't last long with Virginia State going back ahead less than a minute later. From there, the Rams fell behind by as many as 13 points before a run late in the second half. The Rams went on a 9-2 run that left them trailing, 32-26, after a lay-up from Chigozie Ngene-Igwe with 3:47 left in the half. From there, the Rams chipped their lead down to just three points, 38-35 after a three-pointer from Colon with 00:14 left in the half. However, Virginia State would score a jumper at the buzzer to leave the Rams trailing, 38-35 at the half.
The second half turned out to be a lot like he first half with Virginia State going ahead, but the Rams chipping away late. The Rams took control early in the half, tying the game, 46-46 after a Colon three-pointer with 16:00 left to play. However, it would be a while before the Rams claimed the lead. The Rams would threaten to take the lead after a Colon lay-up with 8:42 left pulled the Rams to within a point, 60-59. However, Virginia State answered once again as the Rams fell behind by as many as seven points. It was with just two minutes left that a Colon steal led to a lay-up from junior forward Derrick Farqharson that tied the game, 71-71. The Rams would claim their first lead of the second half when a Crandell lay-up with 1:15 left gave the Rams a 73-72 lead. However, it was the last score of the game for the Rams as the Trojans clamped down on defense and held the Rams to just a pair of missed free throws in the final minute to seal the 78-73 loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 4-7 overall and 2-2 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The Rams won't have long to rest as the team will head to Murfreesboro, N.C. tomorrow to take on the Chowan Hawks in a 6:00 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.