FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (9-8, 4-5 CIAA) had a big second half effort that included holding off a late comeback effort in a 66-63 road win over the Fayetteville State Broncos (3-14, 2-8 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The Rams got the best of their opponents in a game that featured some quality defense by both teams.
The Rams utilized some solid offense and some clutch defense to claim the win. As a team, the Rams shot a solid 43.6% (24-of-55) from the floor while holding the Broncos to shooting just 34.5% (20-of-58) on their home court. WSSU redshirt-sophomore guard Julius Barnes led the way for the Rams with 19 points in the game. Senior forward William Crandell added 16 points with seven rebounds.
Things got off to a slow start for the Rams. The team totaled just 29 points in the half and ended the period with a four-point deficit. The early minutes of the game belonged to the Rams as a Crandell lay-up with 15:41 left in the half gave the Rams a 14-5 lead. The Rams then allowed the Broncos back into the game and cut the WSSU lead down to just two points, 18-16, but a jumper from senior forward Jalyn McKoy gave the Rams a 20-16 cushion with 7:16 left in the half. The Rams would add four more unanswered point to take a 24-16 lead after another Crandell lay-up with 4:53 left in the half. The final minutes of the half saw the Rams struggled when they allowed the Broncos to go on a 17-5 run in the final four minutes of the half to leave the Rams trailing, 33-29 at the half.
The second half saw a much improved effort by the Rams. The team countered a late drought with some clutch defense to claim the win. The Rams opened the half on a roll with a 9-3 run that was capped by a Barnes lay-up with 14:39 left to play. After allowing the Broncos to briefly reclaim the lead, it was in the final minutes that the Rams made their best run. The Rams took a 60-51 lead over the Broncos after a Barnes three-pointer with 3:21 left to play. However, the Rams allowed a furious FSU comeback effort as they were outscored 12-6 in the final three minutes of the game. WSSU went into the final minute of the game with a 60-52 lead. A Fennell dunk with 00:35 left to play gave the Rams a 62-55 lead and a free throw from senior guard James Rucker, III left the Rams on top, 63-58. However, the Rams allowed the Broncos to pull to within a point, 64-63 with five seconds left. However, Barnes hit a pair of clutch free throws that were followed by forcing a missed FSU three-pointer to leave the Rams with the 66-63 victory.
With the win, the Rams improve to 9-8 overall and 4-5 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The team will return to action, Wednesday when they head to Charlotte, N.C. to take on the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls. 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.