RICHMOND, VA – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-5, 2-13 CIAA) showed some strong resilience, but it wasn't enough as the team took a 63-59 road loss to the Virginia Union Panthers (7-4, 3-0 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. After some first half struggles, the Rams came back for a strong second half. However, the effort was not enough as the team took its third straight Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) loss.
The Rams struggled to find their offensive groove in the loss, but a solid defensive effort got the Rams back into the game. As a team, the Rams struggled to hit shots. The team shot just 29.3% (17-of-58) in the game. WSSU senior guard Robert Colon led the way for the Rams with a team-high 16 points. Sophomore guard Jaylen Alston added 15 points. Alston and junior guard Jonathan Hicklin both recorded seven rebounds to tie for the team lead in the game.
The first half was a struggle for the Rams who totaled just 28 points in the opening period. The Rams jumped out to an early 14-9 lead over the Panthers with 15:28 left in the first half. The lead would not last long as the Rams allowed the Panthers to pull away late. After holding a 20-19 lead, the Rams went cold and were held scoreless for nearly five minutes and fell into a 30-20 deficit before a pair of Alston free throws with 5:06 left. The Rams would awaken in the final minutes of the half, but the Rams would not reclaim the lead and ended the half trailing, 39-28.
In the second half, the Rams made a big push to attempt to reclaim the win. The Rams would chip away the VUU lead for much of the early portion of the half and they cut their deficit down to just three points, 51-48 after a three-pointer from sophomore forward Xavier Fennell with 8:50 left to play. From there, the Rams went cold as the team would not hit a field goal until the final minute of the game. The team was able to clamp down on defense to keep the Panthers within reach and trailed the Panthers, 58-56 after a Hicklin lay-up with 00:48. In the final minutes, the Rams were outscored 5-3 and ended the game with the 63-59 loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in CIAA play. The Rams will close out home court for 2019 when the team hosts the Saint Augustine's Falcons in a CIAA Southern Division game. The Rams and the Falcons will take the court, Saturday at 4:00 p.m. 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.