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Rams Fall Short to West Liberty

The Winston-Salem State men's basketball team put up a good fight, but two scoring runs allowed #14 ranked West Liberty State to claim a 104-82 win in the Rams season opener in West Liberty, WV.

The Hilltoppers jumped to an early 14-4 lead in the first half and then survived a Rams scoring drought in the second half by going on a 13-0 run to seal the win. WLU's largest lead in the game was 23 points, happening just under the four-minute mark in the first half. WSSU trailed 52-35 at halftime, and West Liberty surged to an 80-60 lead with 9:11 to play in the game.

Rams senior Jonathan Hicklin led a Rams comeback to slice the deficit to 86-75 with 5:12 to play. Hicklin hit four free throws and completed a three-point play on a layup and free throw in the rally.

'SU had two more opportunities to cut the lead to single digits before going on a 3:32 scoreless run. The Hilltoppers took advantage, scoring 13 consecutive points to increase their lead to 99-75.

Hicklin finished with 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the Rams in both categories. He was an outstanding 10-11 at the free throw line. Redshirt senior Cameron Campbell scored 15 points and added four rebounds.

The Rams shot 52 percent (29-64) from the floor, 39 percent from the three-point line (7-18) and 81 percent at the free throw line (17-21). Rebounding was nearly even with West Liberty holding a 43-40 advantage.

Turnovers proved to be 'SU's downfall. The Rams committed 24 turnovers which led to 28 Hilltopper points. WSSU only scored eight points off WLU's nine turnovers. The Rams bench contributed 37 points.

The Hilltoppers grabbed 18 offensive rebounds which led to 23 second chance points, while 'SU could manage only 12 points from 13 offensive rebounds.

Graduate student Javonte Cooke came off the bench to score 10 points for WSSU. Junior DyQuavis Wilkins had nine points and five rebounds. Sophomore Isaac Parson had nine points and four rebounds.