Final Minute Struggles Cost Rams in 76-75 Loss to Johnson C. Smith

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-15, 2-8 CIAA) took a lead into the final seconds, but allowed some costly free throws in a 76-75 loss to the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (12-7, 5-2 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The Rams controlled much of the game and took a lead into the final seconds, but the team fell just shy late to take their second straight home loss by a combined three points and added more heartbreak to the team's current struggles.

The Rams took the loss in spite of a solid effort at both ends of the court. The Rams were able to keep one of the most potent offenses in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) in check in the tough loss. The Rams held the Golden Bulls to shooting 42.6% (26-of-61) in the game while shooting 44.3% (27-of-61) in the game. WSSU junior forward Jamel McAllister had a tremendous game at both ends of the floor for the Rams with a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds in the game. Fellow junior forward William Crandell added 21 points with seven rebounds as well.

The first half was a strong one for the Rams as the team took control of the game early with an impressive first half. The Rams opened the game with a 7-2 lead after a three-point play from McAllister with 17:04 left in the half. The Rams soon found themselves challenged when the Rams allowed the Golden Bulls tie the game 11-11 near the midpoint of the half. In the final minutes, the Rams pushed their way to a seven-point lead, 41-34 after a pair of McAllister free throws with 2:02 left in the half. In the final minutes of the half, the Rams held off the Golden Bulls to take a 41-39 halftime lead. 

The excitement carried over into the second half with neither team pulling way in the defensive game. The Rams would show some life when a Crandell lay-up with 13:56 left to play gave WSSU a 43-37 lead with 13:56 left to play. The Rams remained in control until just under seven minutes left to play when Johnson C. Smith took a 65-64 lead over the Rams. The Rams and the Golden Bulls continued to trade leads with neither team going ahead by more than three points for the remainder of the game. With 18 seconds left, the Rams took a 75-74 lead after a Crandell layup. Johnson C. Smith would answer with a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left to give the Golden Bulls a 76-75 lead. In the Rams' final possession of the game, the team got a lay-up attempt and a three-point attempt that did not get away in time and sealed the team's second loss at the buzzer.

The loss drops the Rams to 4-15 overall and 2-8 in CIAA play. The team also falls to 0-4 in CIAA Southern Division play. The Rams won't have long to rest as the team will return to action, Tuesday to take on Tusculum in a non-conference game.

For more information on Rams men's basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations a t(336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.