WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (6-6, 1-3 CIAA) gave a great effort for the entire game, but a late drought proved costly in an 81-70 loss to the Virginia State Trojans (11-3, 3-0 CIAA). The Rams controlled much of the game, but the team couldn't overcome a late run by the Trojans in the tough loss.
The loss came in spite of a solid overall effort by the Rams. The team shot a solid 42.4% (25-of-59) from the floor, but the team struggled to stop the Trojans who shot 50.9% (29-of-57) from the floor. WSSU junior guard Robert Colon led the way for the Rams with 22 points while redshirt-sophomore guard Julius Barnes added 10 points. Senior forward William Crandell added 11 points with seven rebounds.
The first half belonged to the Rams as the team got off to a strong start and held off the Trojans for an early lead. The Rams hit back-to-back baskets to start the game and went ahead, 4-0 after a Colon lay-up in the first two minutes of the game. However, things got tougher for the team as the Rams fell behind 11-8. The Rams answered when they went on a 10-5 run to reclaim the lead, 18-16 after a pair of Barnes free throws with 9:25 left in the first half. The two teams went back and forth trading leads with WSSU trailing, 30-27 in the final three minutes of the half. It was then that the Rams began to take control of the game with a 9-2 run to take a 36-32 lead after a Colon jumper with 00:39 left in the half. The Rams allowed a Trojan free throw in the final seconds of the half and left the Rams on top, 36-33 heading into the locker room.
The second half told a different story as the Rams were outscored 48-34 in the second half. The Rams went ahead by as many as six points, 43-37 after a jumper from senior forward Jamel McAllister with 17:24 left in the game. The Rams held on to their lead near the midpoint of the half when a pair free throws from junior forward Mason Harrell left the Rams on top, 51-45 with 13:27 left to play. It was then that things got tough for the Rams as the team was held to just one field goal6-6 over the next eight minutes. The team was held to just free throws over the stretch and then fell behind, 71-60 before a Harrell tip-in with 5:31 left to play. The Rams would cut their lead down to just eight points, 77-69 after a Harrell lay-up with 1:41 left to play. However, the Rams would not get another field goal for the remainder of the game and ended the night with the 81-70 loss.
The loss gives the Rams their first home loss of the season and drops the team to 6-6 overall and 1-3 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The Rams will return to action, Saturday when the team will take on the Chowan Hawks in a 4:00 p.m. game, Saturday. 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.