A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Rams Move On To The Second Round
Raleigh, NC ï¿½
Raleigh, NC ï¿½Coming into Thursday nights game against Livingstone, all the pressure was on the WSSU Rams as they were the top seed out of the CIAA Western Conference and add the fact the game was broadcast live on ESPN Classic for all to see and you would think the pressure would be too much. That was not the case. Instead, it was the pressure defense of the Rams that caused turnovers and poor shooting from Livingstone College that propelled the WSSU Rams to a hard fought 58-48 win in the second round of the CIAA Menï¿½s Tournament. With the win, the Rams advance to the semifinal round where they will face the Panthers of Virginia Union.
Both teams got off to a very slow start especially the Rams and their leading scorer Alleggrie Guinn as the Blue Bears took an early 7-0 lead on field goals by John Booker and Olufemi Abiodun and costly turnovers by the Rams. The Rams then went on a 14-5 run and turned a 7-0 lead by the Blue Bears into a 14-12 lead after a turnover by the Blue Bears with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half. The Blue Bears went over 7 minutes without making a field goal.
The Rams extended their lead to 5 points after a basket and a free throw by Terris Sifford that made the score 17-12. The teams then traded 3 point field goals with John Booker hitting for the Blue Bears and Frank Johnson knocking one down for the Rams that made the score 20-15. After John Booker hit another 3 point field goal and the Rams made two free throws, the Blue Bears tied the game on a jumper by Lamar Byrd and two free throws by Thomas Hughes that made the score 22-22.
The Rams would close the half scoring the final 4 points on a field goal and free throw by Audly Wehner that made the score 26-22. The Rams lead at halftime despite only 3 points from Alleggrie Guinn and only 9 points from Audly Wehner, their two top scorers. The Rams however, did shoot 50 percent and held the Blue Bears to only 35 percent. They also outscored the Blue Bears 10-0 in the paint.
The second half would see the Rams come out strong as they put together an 11-3 run over the first three minutes and 28 seconds of the second period, opening up an 11-point advantage as they led 37-26 following a Terris Sifford steal, lay-up and free throw.
Livingstone College would get back into the game however forcing the Rams into turnovers and poor shooting which led to easy transition shots and timely 3 point shots that cut the lead back to four points at 39-35 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game. The Blue Bears kept theirselves in the game by shooting 7 for 16 from the 3 point line. The Rams shot under 25 percent for the game from the 3 point line but outscored the Blue Bears 30-8 in the paint.
Despite shooting only 33.3% (eight for 24) in the second half, the Rams used stingy defense to once again push their lead into the double digits, eventually earning their largest margin of the game, a 13-point advantage with just over three minutes remaining in the contest.
The 13-point lead would all but seal the Ram victory and earn WSSU a date with nationally-ranked Virginia Union University in Fridayï¿½s semifinal round. The
ï¿½Obviously it wasnï¿½t the most aesthetic basketball game you will ever watch. It was ugly, and I am sure it was uglier from a fanï¿½s perspective. We will have to play a whole lot better tomorrow versus Virginia Union and we know that. But tournament play is about getting over the hump, getting past difficulties like foul trouble and bad breaks, and that is what we did tonight, and we move on to tomorrow, said coach Philip Stitt.
WSSU was led by Audly Wehner who recorded 15 points and five rebounds in the game. Wehner was joined in double-figures by Alleggrie Guinn who chipped in with 10 points and Terris Sifford who also scored 10 points in the game.
Livingstone College was paced by Thomas Hughes who scored 13 points in the game.
The top-seeded Rams improve to 22-6 overall on the season and will advance to the CIAA Tournament semifinals versus the Panthers of Virginia Union. Tip-off is slated for 9:30 PM from the RBC Center with the game being broadcast live on ESPN Classic.