Late Struggles Cost Rams in an 85-80 Loss

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (5-7) gave a tremendous effort, but the team fell short in an 85-80 loss to the Virginia State Trojans (11-5), Thursday evening. The Rams carried a lead for much of the game, but some late struggles proved costly in the hard-fought loss.

The Rams took the loss in spite of an impressive overall performance. As a team, the Rams finished the game, shooting 50% (27-of-54) in the game, including shooting 50% (eight-of-16) from the three-point line. Defensively, the Rams had their hands full as they allowed the Trojans to also shoot 50% (29-of-58) in the game. WSSU senior guard Robert Colon led the way for the Rams with a team-high 23 points in the game. He was the only Ram to reach double-digit scoring in the game.

In the first half, the Rams broke out for a strong effort early in the game, but the team allowed the Trojans to take a late lead before taking a lead into the locker room. In the early going, it was the Rams who took control of the game with back-to-back scores to start the game. After taking a 6-3 lead in the first few minutes of play, the Rams soon allowed a big run to the Trojans and found the game tied, 15-15. WSSU would regain control of the game when a lay-up from sophomore guard Jonathan Hicklin with 6:33 left in the first half left the Rams on top, 31-19. In the final minutes of the half, the Rams took a 35-30 lead that the team took into the locker room at halftime.

The second half was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. The Rams allowed the Trojans to tie the game 40-40 in the early minutes of the half. It was then that the tense portion of the game began as both teams mounted big runs. The Rams fired the first salvo when a free throw from sophomore forward Melvin Huntley, Jr. gave the Rams a 57-52 lead with 14:00 left in the second half. From there, things got tough for the Rams as they allowed seven unanswered points to the Trojans and fell behind, 59-57 near the midpoint of the half. The two teams went back and forth trading leads with some clutch free throws and shots at both ends of the court. It was in the final stretch of the game when some offensive struggles proved costly to the Rams. The team went for a five minute span without hitting a field goal, but some strong free throw shooting kept the game within reach for the Rams.  A Colon lay-up with 2:02 was the Rams' first field goal since the 7:19 mark. The effort left the Rams trailing, 78-74 with 2:02 left to play. From there, the Rams kept the game within reach, 83-80 when a Hicklin lay-up with 00:18 left. However, the Rams would not get the clutch shot that they needed in the 85-80 loss.

With the loss, the Rams fall to 5-7 for the season. The team will return to action, Saturday when they take on the Virginia Union Panthers in a 4:00 p.m. game. For more information on Rams men's basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (33^) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.