ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Winston-Salem State battled its way back to take a late lead but saw it dwindle away in the final minutes, as the Rams fell 72-68 to Elizabeth City State at the RL Vaughn Center on the Elizabeth City State campus on Monday night.
With the loss, the WSSU Rams fall to 9-7 overall, 4-2 in the CIAA, while Elizabeth City improves to 8-8 overall 3-3 in the CIAA.
The Rams end their long trip with two wins and one loss in the six day road trip.
Both teams were able to get going early before the Vikings used a 13-2 run to take a 24-14 lead midway through the first half.
After increasing the lead to 12, the Rams would battle back and use a run of their own, a 15-5, to get back into the game cutting the lead to just two points at 31-29 with 3:33 to play in the first half.
The Rams were able to battle their way all the way back to pull even at 36-36 at the half.
WSSU started the second half quickly, using a 7-0 run to take a 43-36 lead, sparked by their trapping defense that forced the Vikings into three consecutive turnovers to start the half.
But the Vikings turned the table and used their own 7-0 to tie the game and eventually pull ahead by two at 49-47.
The game was nip and tuck coming down the stretch, but the Rams could not get the big basket they needed and the ECSU Vikings were able to hit their free throws in the final seconds to pull away from the Rams.
The Winston-Salem State bench was held to just two points on the night, while Elizabeth City State bench contributed 20 points. The Rams were also held to just 21% from behind the three point arc, making just five of 24 shots from three point range.
Marquez Jones led the Rams with 26 points, to go with four rebo9unds and two steals, while WyKevin Bazemore added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Preston Ross finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Tyre Desmore had five points, four rebounds and three assists and Brian okam chipped in four points, three rebounds and two blocked shots.
Elizabeth City State's Jeremy Basnight led the Vikings with 25 points and five rebounds, and LaShawn Alexander finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Darrell Ward added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Winston-Salem State will host the St. Augustine's University Falcons at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem.