WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (6-5) used a big second half to take a 96-79 win over the Claflin Panthers (5-9, 4-5 CIAA), Friday afternoon. After scoring just 38 first half points in the game, the Rams broke out for 58 second half points to claim their first conference win of the season.
The Rams utilized a balanced offensive attack to claim the win. As a team, the Rams shot a scorching hot 56.5% (35-of-62) from the floor. The team was especially impressive from the three-point line as they shot 48.0% (12-of-25) from long distance. WSSU senior forward William Crandell led the way for the Rams with a double-double 29 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Robert Colon added 22 points, including going five-for-10 from the three-point line. Sophomore guard Julius Barnes added 19 points, going three-for-five the three point line. Freshman forward Xavier Fennell added 11 points as well.
The first half was a competitive one as both teams had some strong scoring runs. Both teams jumped out with some great scoring runs. After playing to a 9-9 tie with just over 15 minutes left in the first half, but the Rams broke out soon when they scored seven unanswered points to go ahead, 22-15 after a Barnes three-pointer with 11:10 left in the first half. The seven-point lead was the Rams' largest of the first half, but the lead soon found themselves ahead of the Panthers, 26-25 with 7:38 left in the half. The Rams allowed the the Panthers to once again claim the lead, 32-31 with 3:37 left in the first half the Rams would retake the lead in the final minute of the half with a Barnes lay-up with 00:58 left in the half. However, the Rams allowed three free throws by the Panthers to take a 40-39 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
The second half was a much different story as the Rams pulled way with a big offensive effort. The Rams scored 58 second half points. After tying the game for the sixth time with a Crandell lay-up six seconds into the second half, the Rams allowed the Panthers their last lead of the game with a three-pointer 19 seconds later. The Rams tied the game with a Colon three-pointer with 19:11 left to play and a reclaimed the lead on another Colon three-pointer with 18:40 left that gave the Rams a 46-43 lead. From there, the Rams never looked back. The team went on an 11-4 run that was capped by another Colon three-pointer with 15:45 left to play that gave the Rams a 57-47 lead. The Rams kept their cushion and continued to keep up the pressure on their opponents as a Crandell dunk with 7:25 left to play gave the Rams a 79-64. The effort left the Rams in a comfortable lead and the team pulled away to claim the 96-79 win.
With the win, the Rams improve to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The team also remains undefeated at home this season. The team will return to action, Thursday when the team hosts the Virginia State Trojans. 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.