#17 Winston-Salem State pushed its winning streak to 10 games, as the Rams forced Virginia State into 19 turnovers in a 72-58 home win at the CE Gaines Center.
With the win, WSSU moves to 11-2 overall and 4-0 in CIAA play. The Virginia State Trojans fall to 6-7 overall and 1-3 in CIAA play.
Winston-Salem State started quick with some hot shooting from Justin Glover, as he gave the home team a quick 9-2 lead. WSSU would continue the pressure and pushed their lead to 11 points at 24-13 with 5:47 to play in the first half.
But Virginia State would go on a 13-6 run to end the half to close the gap to 30-26 heading into the locker room.
The Trojans rode the momentum of the way they finished the first half to the start of the second as they quickly erased the Rams lead and took their first lead of the night at 32-30 with 18:29 to go.
After a timeout, the WSSU Rams settled back down and regained the lead 34-32, and never looked back. WSSU would outscore Virginia State 34-17 over the next 15 minutes to take a commanding 17 point lead, 66-49 at the under four minute timeout.
WSSU would take their largest lead of the game of 18 points with 1:21 remaining, as Bobby Collins emptied his bench.
The Rams would cruise the rest of the way to 72-58 final score.
Winston-Salem State made 20 of 29 free throws on the evening, while Virginia State made just six of 12. WSSU's bench continued its stellar play, outscoring VSU 37 to 24, and defensively forced the Trojans into 19 turnovers that the Rams converted into 19 points. The Rams also outscored the Trojans 8-0 in fast break points.
The WSSU Rams' Justin Glover led all scorers with 17 points, while Wakefield Ellison added 15 points off the bench. Maurice Nash, playing in just his third game of the season after transferring from Davison County CC, chipped in eight points and five rebounds to go with one assists, one blocked shot and one steal. WyKevin Bazemore scored eight points and pulled down three rebounds. Michel-Ofik Nzege added seven points.
Christopher Grier scored 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Allen Harris added 12 points for Virginia State.
"Total team effort", remarked WSSU head coach, Bobby Collins. "We definitely had to utilize our bench tonight, and I told the team that prior to game."
"I had a feeling it was going to take someone off the bench tonight to carry us through. Maurice Nash gave us a big spark, and I was pleased with the intensity he brought to the game. We know he can do those things, and we have just been waiting on it. We're pleased to know we have another solid player we can go to", added Collins.
Winston-Salem State will continue with its second game of a three game home stand, as they host Chowan University on Saturday night at 7:30 pm at the CE Gaines Center.