WSSU Mens Season Is Over

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: March 12, 2005

Bowie, MD – The Winston-Salem State University Rams men’s basketball team, looking to exact revenge on the third-seeded Spartans, closed the season on Saturday afternoon as they fell in defeat to USC-Upstate by the score of 63-59 in the South Atlantic Region NCAA quarterfinals at Bowie, MD.

The Rams were trying to atone for the loss that they suffered at the hands of USC-Upstate by the score of 49-46 on December 3rd, 2004 in Winston-Salem, NC.

The first half was played at a fast pace as the two teams traded baskets for the first five minutes of play and neither team would control the tempo of the contest.

WSSU started to pull away midway through the half as an Alleggrie Guinn’s three-pointer gave the Rams a ten-point advantage at 21-11 with 8:56 remaining in the first half of play.

The Guinn three-pointer would prove to be the last shot made by the Rams for a while as the Spartans held the Rams without a field goal for the next 5:54 of play, until a Curtis Hines scored with 2:17 to play in the half to end the drought.

Despite the cold shooting, WSSU took a slim 29-24 lead at halftime.

USC-Upstate came out of the locker room hot, putting together a 10-4 run to start the second half as they took their first lead with 17:22 to play in the contest 34-33. The lead was sparked by the play of Luke Payne, the son of the Spartan’s head coach Eddie Payne. Payne hit three consecutive three-point field goals on three consecutive USC-Upstate possessions over the span of 1:20 as he buried long-range shots at the 4:52, 5:30, and 6:12 marks of the second half.

The Rams then tied the game 47-47 with 9:42 left on the clock, setting up what proved to be an exciting finish in the South Atlantic Region playoffs’ first contest of the day. The Rams would eventually retake the lead with just under eight minutes to play as Terris Sifford scored inside giving the Rams a 51-50 lead.

The Spartans’ Jay Free gave USC-Upstate a three-point advantage at 59-56 with two minutes remaining in the game when he connected on a three-point field goal. That three-point advantage would be just enough as the Spartans held on to defeat the Rams for the second time during the 2004-05 season en route to advancing to the South Atlantic Region semifinals against the winner of the Virginia Union/Catawba game.

The Rams were led by Audly Wehner who scored 16 points and 10 points from Curtis Hines. The Rams only had 2 players in double figures.

The Spartans were led by Jay Free who recorded 15 points and13 points from Charleston Long.

WSSU, had a great season and finished with a record of 22-8 overall while USC-Upstate improves to 23-7 with the win as they move on to the regional semifinals.