WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The local bragging rights will stay with the Winston-Salem State Rams (3-3) as the team took a 101-80 win over the Piedmont International Bruins (3-6), Tuesday evening. The Rams took the win behind one of their best shooting performances of the season.
As a team, the Rams put on a scorching hot performance in the game. The Rams shot 52.2% (36-of-69) from the floor, including shooting 44.8% (13-of-29) from the three-point line. The Rams also benefitted from a big rebounding game with almost double the total rebounds of their opponents and scoring 23 second chance points. WSSU junior guard Robert Colon led the way for the Rams with 29 points in the game while senior forward William Crandell added 25 points with a game-high nine rebounds. Fellow senior guard James Rucker, II added 17 points off the bench.
The Rams had to dig deep to fend off the feisty Bruins in the first half. In the early going, the Rams controlled the game with a big offensive showing and took a 19-9 lead after a three-pointer from Colon with 14:38 left in the first half. The Rams pushed their lead to as many as 14 points, 30-16 after a lay-up from Crandell with 9:35 left in the half. However, the Bruins showed a lot of heart as they chipped away at their deficit and cut the WSSU lead down to just one point, 33-32 with 3:43 left in the half. From there, it was the Rams' turn to show their heart as they went on a late run to pull away late from the Bruins. A Colon lay-up at the buzzer sent the Rams into the locker room with a 46-40 lead.
It was in the second half that the Rams would take off. With foul troubles handcuffing the Bruins, the Rams were able to show their depth and pull away from their local rivals. The Rams jumped out early in the half as a lay-up from freshman guard Xavier Fanell with 17:46 left to play gave the Rams a 53-43 lead. As the game went on, the Rams continued to pull away from the Bruins. Midway through the half, the Rams stood ahead of the Bruins, 73-62 after a lay-up from junior guard Julius Barnes. However, it was in the final minutes that the Rams really began to pull away as a pair of Colon free throws gave the Rams their largest lead of the game, 101-78 with just under a minute left to play. The Rams allowed a pair of PIU free throws with six seconds left to play to end the day with the win.
With the win, the Rams improve to 3-3 overall on the season. The Rams will return to action, Saturday when the team heads to Bluefield, West Virginia to take on the Bluefield State Blues. 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.