WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Winston-Salem State used a fast start and got double figure scoring from four players to hold off the Panthers of Virginia Union, 91-84 in the Rams Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association opener at the CE Gaines Center on the Winston-Salem State University campus.
The win snapped the Rams two game losing streak, and moved WSSU to 6-5 overall and 1-0 in CIAA play. Virginia Union falls to 2-9 overall and 1-1 in CIAA play.
Winston-Salem State started the game on fire, led by leading scorer, Marquez Jones, who scored nine of the Rams first 12 points. Back to back jumpers from Jones, including a 3-pointer, propelled the Rams to an early 18-9 lead, and with 9:05 left in the first half, Javan Wells hit s 3-pointer to give the Rams their largest lead of the first half at 10 points with a 27-17 advantage.
Virginia Union would battle back and close the Rams lead to just one point with 2:50 left before the half, but WSSU scored the final three points of the half on a free throw by Brian Okam and a driving layup by Tyre Desmore to give Winston-Salem State a 37-33 halftime advantage.
The Panthers would come out of the half on fire and used a 7-2 run to take their first lead at 40-39.
But WSSU would settle back down and led by the dunking prowess of Preston Ross and WyKevin Bazemore, couple with the hot shooting of Marquez Jones and Javan Wells, the Rams kept the pressure on Virginia Union and pushed the lead back out to eight points with just under 10:00 left to play.
Winston-Salem State would extend their lead to 12 points – the largest lead of the night with 5:48 left to play, before Virginia Union once more would go on a run and cut the lead back to three points with 3:12 remaining.
Virginia Union's Ray Anderson would try to keep the Panthers close with his hot shooting, but coming down the stretch the Rams were able to sink enough free throws and get a few easy baskets en route to the 91-84 win.
Marquez Jones led the Rams with 28 points, while Preston Ross finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. WyKevin Bazemore added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Javan Wells chipped in 16 points off the bench. Brian Okma added seven points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Ray Anderson led Virginia Union's effort with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Avery Jirmnson added 17 points and Te'Quan Alers and Omar Briggs each scored 11 points.
Winston-Salem State will be back in action again on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. at the CE Gaines Center, as they will host Lincoln (Pa) University. For more information on Winston-Salem State University basketball, visit wssurams.com or contact the WSSU Athletic Media Relations Office at 336-750-2152.