FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Winston-Salem State got a big win on Saturday afternoon, and defense forced Fayetteville State to 25 turnovers, as the Rams rolled in the second half en route to a 69-61 win over the Broncos at Capel Arena.
With the win, Winston-Salem State improves to 14-9 overall, 9-4 in the CIAA and 5-2 in the Southern Division. Fayetteville State falls to 17-7 overall, 9-4 in the CIAA and 5-2 in the Southern Division. The win also puts the Rams into a tie for second place in the Southern Division, a game behind the Livingstone College Blue Bears.
Winston-Salem State was able to get out in front of the Broncos early, led by the big three of Marquez Jones, WyKevin Bazemore and Preston Ross, III, before Fayetteville State battled back to tie the game at 10-10 with 12:31 in the first half.
Fayetteville State would use a 9-4 run to jump out ahead of the Rams, but the Rams defense was able to keep the Broncos within reach by forcing them into numerous turnovers, and by the 7:15 mark had pulled back even at 21-21.
A three pointer from Javan Wells and Quinton Alton, gave the Rams back the lead and extended it to five points, before the Rams would turn up the defensive pressure and were able to hold the Broncos scoreless over the last five minutes of the first half, and outscored FSU seven to two to end the first half with a 35-30 halftime lead.
In the first half, the Rams controlled the points in the paint, with a 14-6 advantage and also got big contributions from the bench as the Rams held a 14-6 bench scoring advantage.
As the second half began, the Rams big three would take control and it would take less than five minutes for the Rams to push their lead to double figures, a place it would stay for most of the half.
Jones, Bazemore and Ross proved throughout the evening that the first matchup with the Broncos was a premonition, as the also punished the Broncos on the boards, out rebounding them by 10 (42-32).
Winston-Salem State would go up by 10 at the 14:10 mark, 45-35, and maintained that lead into the under 12 minutes media timeout, at 48-38.
The Rams would increase their lead to 14, but the Broncos would cut into the lead following back to back WSSU turnovers and a made three and began to force their way back into the game.
Fayetteville State cut the Rams lead to six at 59-53 with 1:49 left to play, but coming out of the timeout, WyKevin Bazemore would find a wide open Preston Ross, III underneath the basket for a powerful two hand slam dunk to push the lead back to eight points.
The game would come down to free throws, as with 44.10 seconds remaining, Tyre Desmore would be fouled and he would make one of two, but WyKevin Bazemore would fight the rebound and he would force the ball off of a Bronco defender, giving the Rams a fresh shot clock. Preston Ross, III would go to the line after a quick FSU foul, and he would sink both, pushing the Rams lead back to seven with just under 44 seconds left.
WSSU would force a quick turnover from the Broncos, and Marquez Jones would be fouled and he would sink two to give the Rams a nine point lead with just under 30 seconds left.
The Rams Preston Ross, III would also go to the line and sink four free throws coming down the stretch to give the Rams the win by the final of 69-61.
Winston-Salem State was led in scoring by Marquez Jones and Preston Ross, III who each finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Jones also added six assists and two steals, while Ross added two steals. WyKevin Bazemore picked up his 10th double-double of the season with his 12 point and 12 rebound performance. Bazemore also finished with three steals, two blocked shots and an assist.
For the Broncos of Fayetteville State, Tyrrel Tate finished with a game high 26 points, to go with seven rebounds and two assists. Devin Thompson added 11 points for the Broncos.
Winston-Salem State University will continue the mad scramble of games leading up to the CIAA Tournament, as they will return home for a Monday night matchup with Shaw University. This is a makeup game from Wednesday night, when the game was postponed due to the inclement weather.