WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- It wasn't pretty, but it was a win.
The Winston-Salem State University Rams used a strong defensive effort in the second half, to take a 59-52 grind out win over the visiting Lincoln University Tigers at the CE Gaines Center on Monday night.
With the win, the Rams of Winston-Salem State move to 13-2 overall, and remain unbeaten at 6-0 in the CIAA Southern Division. Lincoln falls to 7-9 overall, 2-3 in the CIAA's Northern Division.
Lincoln would grasp control of the early portion of the game, as the Rams struggled with 11 turnovers and just nine made baskets in the first half.
With 5:44 in the first half, the Tigers would take a 21-20 lead on a Denzel Mooney jump shot, and Lincoln would capitalize and push their lead out to a 29-22 advantage. Lincoln, however, was able to keep control of the first half before the Rams would close out the half on a 5-2 run, but the LU Tigers would eventually took a 29-25 lead into the locker room at the half.
With a little over 12 minutes remaining and the Rams trailing by one, Kimani Hunt was able to keep WSSU within striking distance with a big three point shot, and timely rebounds on the defensive end.
WSSU's Chris Witherspoon would hit one of the biggest shots of the night for the Rams, a three pointer with just under 11:30 left to play, to give Winston-Salem State a 42-40 lead. They would never relinquish it the rest of the evening.
In the final minutes, Winston-Salem State would convert 9 of 13 free throws to give the Rams a comfortable enough cushion to keep the scrappy Lincoln Tigers at bay.
Justin Glover's two free throws with :19 left, sealed the final outcome.
Glover led the WSSU Rams with 17 points, while also pulling six rebounds and dished out three assists. Kimani Hunt added 15 points and a team high nine rebounds. WyKevin Bazemore chipped in seven points and six rebounds, and Joseph Thompson added six points.
For Lincoln University, Denzel money finished with a game high 18 points, and Derrick Washington added 17 points and six rebounds.
"This was one of those typical CIAA games that we had to grind out," says head coach, Bobby Collins.
"We did a very good job of matching up with their guards. And down the stretch WyKevin Bazemore definitely made some plays for us. We were able to hit our free throws, at least the one that mattered, and that enabled us to get some separation and our bench really came through tonight," added Collins
"Chris Witherspoon hit the big three point shot that really sparked us, and Kimani Hunt coming in and hitting the big three and getting some key rebounds for us really made this a total team effort," said Collins.
Winston-Salem State University will travel to Fayetteville, NC on Saturday for a 4:00 pm tip off with the Fayetteville State Broncos. The game will be televised by Urban Sports and Entertainment.