WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Winston-Salem State University Rams rode the wave that the electric crowd inside of the CE Gaines Center provided, and WyKevin Bazemore led three Rams in double figure scoring, as WSSU gained revenge from last week's defeat and ran past the Saint Augustine's Falcons, 55-43.
With the win, WSSU moved to 17-4 overall, 9-2 in the CIAA and 3-2 in the Southern Division. Saint Augustine's falls to 12-9 overall, 7-4 in the CIAA and 2-3 in the Southern Division.
Winston-Salem State also moved into a two-way tie for second place in the Southern Division when Johnson C. Smith lost to Fayetteville State tonight.
Saint Augustine's started hot and fast and had the capacity crowd reeling and quiet as the Falcons raced out to an early 16-5 lead.
WSSU would settle down and battled back to within two points at 19-17, before Chris Witherspoon brought the crowd to deafening levels with a three pointer to take their first lead at 20-19.
While Witherspoon was making his three, Nequan Melvin and SAC's Chris Johnson tangled and nearly came to blows near midcourt. Both players were separated quickly, but were assessed technical fouls and tossed from the game.
The Rams, spurred by their boisterous crowd, finished the half on a 6-0 run and held the Falcon's scoreless over the last five minutes of the half, for a 26-19 halftime lead.
WSSU started the second half the same way they ended the first half, scoring the first six points out the gate for a 32-19 lead, and once gain holding Saint Augustine's scoreless for another five minute span. The Rams would push their lead to 14 points on a Justin Glover three pointer, before the Falcons would scrap their way back in the contest.
But Chris Witherspoon would spark the Rams defensive effort, and the Falcons would get no closer than six points, before WSSU would regain control of the game and take the lead back to double-digit points.
The Rams would finish the game on a 5-2 run for the final score of 55-43.
WyKevin Bazemore, named the CIAA's Rookie of the Week for the third time today, led the Rams with 17 points and 10 rebounds, to collect his fifth double-double of the season. Justin Glover finished with 14 points and five rebounds, while Marcus Wells added 11 points. Kimani Hunt, named this week's CIAA Newcomer of the Week, pulled down seven rebounds.
Tyquan Stroman came off the Falcon bench to score a team-high 15 points, while Jon kindred added seven points and 10 rebounds.
"I thought our fans were incredible tonight", said WSSU head coach, Bobby Collins. ""They had a lot to do with our success tonight."
"This was a very scrappy game, and I thought the team that would make the most plays down the stretch would win, and we were able to do that tonight."
"There was a period when were able to stop them from scoring, and we were able to turn that into some easy baskets for us and that kinda got us going," says Collins.
"We still have to execute better. I thought we got out of character because of the crowd. They had us pumped and our emotions were flowing and it forced us into some bad habits in early in the game," added Collins. "I want to apologize to our fans for not being as sharp as we should have been."
WSSU will continued their four game homestand on Saturday night when they take on the #14 ranked, and CIAA leading, Shaw Bears at 7:30 PM in the CE Gaines Center.