ERIE, PA - Winston-Salem State could not overcome poor shooting in the overtime period, as the Rams would fall 103-96 to Shepherd University in the Championship game of the 40th Porreco Cup, at the Hammermill Center on the Gannon University campus in Erie, Pa.
The loss snaps WSSU's three game winning streak and drops the Rams to 5-4 on the season, while Shepherd University improves to 9-1.
The first half was played very close with neither team being able to pull away from the other to gain any type of significant advantage.
Shepherd would take a 41-40 halftime lead, led by their hot three point shooting, as they would go 7 of 13 from behind the arc in the first half.
Winston-Salem State was able at one point to hold a six point lead, while Shepherd countered with their largest lead of three points.
The second half was almost a mirror image of the first, as both teams struggled to put any distance between the two, but WSSU would be able to reverse Shepherd's lead early in the second half as WyKevin Bazemore and Marquez Jones baskets put the Rams up five with 16:20 to play.
A run by SU would have the Rams reeling, as they fell behind by five at 67-62 with just over nine minutes left, and would push that lead to nine points with 8:00 to play.
But the inside play of WyKevin Bazemore and Victor Holloway, coupled with Preston Ross' hot shooting and solid play off the bench by Javan Wells would pull the Rams back to within striking distance with time winding down in the contest.
The Rams would trail by three points with five second remaining, but a huge three point shot by Tyre Desmore with one second remaining would find nothing but the nets to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Rams shooting would go cold, as WSSU would be outscored 11-4 in the extra fram to eventually fall 103-96.
WSSU held advantages in points in the paint (66-42) and fast break points 24-6), but Shepherd was able to convert 21 WSSU turnovers into a 21-15 advantage in points off of turnovers.
Winston-Salem State was led in scoring by Preston Ross, who had his best game of his short Ram career, as he finished with 32 points and seven rebounds. WyKevin Bazemore continued his stellar play as he scored 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, for his third consecutive double-double. Marquez Jones added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Victor Holloway came off the bench to add nine points and four rebounds, and Tyre Desmore chipped in five points and seven assists. Kerry Campbell added three steals for WSSU.
Shepherd had five players score in double figures, led by Osborne Bradley's 22 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Morgan McDonald added 20 points, nine rebounds, four steals and two assists. Kevin Jones scored 18 points with five rebounds, Austin Cunningham added 16 points with six assists and Marcus Pilgrim chipped in 15 points.
The 40th Annual Porreco Cup Championship Game (hosted by Gannon University)
All-Tournament Team consisted of: Most Outstanding Player -- Morgan McDonald (SU)
Tee Talley (GU), WyKevin Bazemore (WSSU), Brantley Osborne (SU),
Preston Ross (WSSU).
Winston-Salem State will travel to Anderson, S.C. on Saturday, December 21st , at 4:00 p.m.to take on the Anderson University Trojans at the Abney Athletic Center on the Anderson campus.