SALISBURY, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-16, 2-9 CIAA) gave a solid effort, but some struggles at the free throw line cost the team dearly in a 79-73 road loss to the Livingstone Blue Bears (8-9, 6-5 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The Rams kept the game within reach, but the team could not quite get over the hump in the hard-fought loss to the Blue Bears.
The Rams took the loss in spite of a solid overall effort. However, the team struggled in some key areas to take the tough loss. As a team, the Rams were held to shooting just 38.2% (26-of-68) from the floor, including shooting 26.3% (Five-of-19) from the three-point line. The team was especially troubled at the free throw line where they shot just 45.7% (16-of-35). WSSU junior forwards Jamel McAllister and William Crandell both scored 16 points each in the game while junior guard Derrick Farquharson added 13 points. Crandell completed a double-double with 11 rebounds. Junior guard James Rucker, II added 12 points with 12 rebounds off the bench.
The first half was a thrilling one, but in the end, it was not a good one for the Rams. After the Rams jumped out to an early lead, the two teams played to a 17-17 tie midway through the half. The Rams allowed the Blue Bears to pull out to a 25-20 lead, but the team charged back to tie the game once again, 30-30 after a free throw from junior forward Chigozie Ngene-Igwe with 5:31 left in the half. The Rams allowed the Blue Bears to take a 36-30 lead in the final minute, but Crandell hit three critical free throws in the final minute to leave the Rams to within three points, 36-33 at the half.
The second half got going in a slow manner for the Rams as the team fell behind, 41-33 with 19:24 mark and forced an early timeout by the Rams. From there, the Rams had to play catch up for the remainder of the game. The team fell behind the Blue Bears by as many as eight points, 41-49 with just under 17 minutes left to play. A Crandell jumper pulled the Rams to within two points, 52-50 with 13:21 left to play. After allowing the Blue Bears to once again go ahead by 10 points, 69-59 with just under four minutes left to play. The Rams had another late run in them when a McAllister three-point play with just under 30 seconds left pulled the Rams within three points, 76-73. However, the Rams went scoreless while allowing the Blue Bears to hit three key free throws to close the game and seal the 79-73 loss for the Rams.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 4-16 overall and 2-9 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The team also falls to 0-5 in CIAA Southern Division play. The Rams also fall to 0-6 in road games and extend their current skid to eight games.
The Rams will get a chance to get back into the win column, Wednesday when they head to Raleigh, N.C. to take on the Saint Augustine's Falcons. For more information on Rams basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.