RALEIGH, NC -- The #11 Winston-Salem State University Rams' luck came up short this evening, and the Saint Augustine's Falcons scored the upset with a 63-61 win at Emory Gym on the SAU campus in Raleigh.
With the loss the WSSU winning streak is halted at 12 games, and the Rams fall to 13-3 overall and pick up their first loss in seven game in the CIAA action. Saint Augustine's University moves to 11-6 overall and 4-3 in CIAA play.
WSSU took the early lead at 6-4 with 16:00 left in the first half on a Tyre Desmore 3-pointer, but the Falcons of Saint Augustine's University used a 9-2 run to overtake the Rams and race out to a 13-8 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the half.
But the Rams would fight back and tied the game at 21-21 on a Justin Glover three with just under 6:00 to play before halftime. Back to back baskets by WyKevin Bazemore gave the Rams a 25-21 lead WSSU would continue the stout defense, holding the Falcons scoreless over a five minute span, and freshman Michel-Ofik Nzege would give WSSU a 28-21 lead with less than a minute before the half, and the Rams would take a 28-23 lead into the locker room.
Something that plagued the Rams early in the game, reared its head again at the start of the second half as WSSU was sloppy with ball, and the Falcons made the Rams pay scoring in bunches off the turnovers and took a 35-33 over WSSU with 15:15 to play.
Back to back baskets by Wakefield Ellison and WyKevin Bazemore tied the game again at 37-37, and Justin Glover would convert a Falcons turnover into a layup to give the Rams a 39-37 lead – their last of the contest.
Two points would separate the two teams for the remainder of the half before SAU would get a little breathing room with a six point lead with 1:19 to play.
WSSU would get to within two with 2 seconds left, but two free throws by SAU's Percy Woods would keep the Rams at bay and WSSU ended up on the wrong wide of a 63-61 game.
During the WSSU 12-game win streak, the Rams bench had been dominate, but this evening St. Augustine's benched outscored the Rams bench to a tune of 33 to 11. Another factor, the Rams shot just 45% from the free throw line, making just 5 of 11 from the charity stripe. WSSU also committed 17 turnovers, which the Falcons turned in to 20 points.
Justin Glover led the Rams with 15 points, while WyKEvin Bazemore added 12 points and Tyre Desmore chipped in 10 points. Michel-Ofik Nzege scored eight points. Marcus Wells led the Rams with five assists and four steals to go with five points.
Percy Woods led Saint Augustine's with a game high 19 points, while Joel Watson came off the bench to add 11 and Jonathan Crowley, a former WSSU Rams offensive lineman, scored 10 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Falcons.
"This wasn't our normal team effort", said WSSU head coach Bobby Collins. "We didn't get what we needed from our bench tonight. They normally have been a strong point for us, but not tonight."
"In order to win in this league now, you have to be able to take care of the basketball and take care of the boards. I'm not sure if not playing in five days played a role, but every night is important. We don't have games to waste. Every night you want to get better, better as a team, but tonight we took a step back", added Collins. "But I am ready to get back to business and I think its better that we have back to back to back games."
Winston-Salem State will host the Bears of Shaw University at 7:30 pm on Wednesday night at the CE -Gaines Center.