Free Throw Woes Cost Rams in 74-65 Loss to Saint Augustine's

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-12, 2-5 CIAA) gave a tremendous effort to overcome a slow first half, but the Rams fell short in a 74-65 loss to the Saint Augustine's Falcons (9-9, 6-1 CIAA) in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division opener, Saturday afternoon. Shooting woes from the floor and at the free throw line cost the Rams in the hard-fought loss.

As a team, the Rams struggled to get the ball in the basket for much of the game. The Rams shot 37.3% (22-of-59) from the floor in the game and shot just 50% (15-of-30) from the free throw line. WSSU junior guard Derick Brewer, Jr. led the way for the Rams with a team-high 17 points in the game while redshirt-sophomore guard Julius Barnes added 12 points. Junior forward Jamel McAllister added 10 points while junior forward William Crandell added 11 points with seven rebounds.

The Rams opened the game on a down note with Saint Augustine's controlling the entire first half. The Rams fell behind early as the Falcons jumped ahead, 20-4, before a McAllister lay-up with 8:41 left in the first half. The Rams would cut their deficit down to just 12 points, 33-21 after three free throws from Colon with 1:30 left in the half, but some clutch shooting by the Falcons left the Rams trailing, 36-23 at halftime.

The second half told a much different story as the Rams staged a dramatic comeback that fell just short. Early in the half, it was Saint Augustine's that went ahead early as the Falcons took a 45-25 lead over the Rams in the early minutes of the half. However, the Rams would chip away at their deficit with a 7-2 run that included five straight points from Brewer, Jr. and a pair of Colon free throws that left the Rams trailing, 49-36 with 13:26 left to play. The Rams continued to chip away at their deficit, but the Falcons kept the Rams at bay until a strong WSSU rally ramped up the drama in the game. The Rams went on a furious 11-point run that cut their deficit down to just two points when a Barnes three-pointer with 5:32 left to play pulled the Rams to within two points, 57-55. The drama reached its peak less than a minute later when a Brewer, Jr. three-pointer with 4:46 left to play pulled the Rams to within one point, 59-58. From there, the Rams fell victim to some clutch shooting from the Falcons who answered the WSSU run with a 10-2 run that left the Rams trailing, 69-60 with 1:14 left to play. From there, the Rams would never get back into the game as the Falcons pulled away for the win.

With the loss, the Rams fall to 4-12 overall and 2-5 in CIAA play. The team also opens CIAA Southern Division play at 0-1. The Rams will return to action, Saturday, when the team heads to Raleigh, N.C. to take on the Shaw Bears.

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