Charlotte, N.C. – Sixth-seeded Shaw battled back from a 10-point second half deficit to tie the game late, but Winston-Salem State held on to take a 64-61 win in the quarterfinals of the 2015 CIAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Rams were able to stake a 15-12 lead, their largest of the first half when WyKevin Bazemore connected on a layup at the 9:31 mark.
Shaw, playing in its third game in three days, closed the gap to 15-14 after Joe Reid connected on a pair of free throws with 8:37 left in the first half.
The Rams would go on a 9-1 run over the next minute to stretch the lead to 27-15 at the 6:15 mark after a Donta Harper basket.
With WSSU leading 29-20 at the under four-minute media timeout, Shaw got a dunk from Larry Richardson. Richardson was fouled on the play and converted the free throw, bringing the Bears to within six points at 29-23.
Shaw was able to force four WSSU misses, but could not capitalize, as the Bears committed two turnovers and missed two shots of their own.
WSSU was then whistled for an offensive foul to make it five straight scoreless possessions for the Rams.
Shaw’s AliBaba Odd was able to drive to the basket but was fouled with three seconds left before halftime. Odd knocked down a free throw to cut the WSSU lead to 29-24 at halftime.
The WSSU halftime lead quickly evaporated as Shaw came out of the locker room as the aggressor. The Bears were able to put together a 9-4 run to cut the deficit to two points at 33-31 with 17:08 remaining. During the run, Shaw got a dunk from Larry Richardson. Joe Reid and Koron Reed also added baskets for the Bears.
Winston-Salem State responded, stretching the lead back to seven points at 37-31 after Donta Harper hit one of two free throws.
After the teams traded misses, WSSU freshman Terrell Leach found his way to the line, hitting both shots to boost the lead to 39-31 with 14:25 to play.
WSSU would take the 10 point lead at 41-31 with 13:25 left, but Shaw would cut it to 43-38 after a Reid jumper with 10:55 to play.
Shaw continued to drive the ball inside, with Jamar Cooper sliced into the WSSU defense and got a layup to fall and was fouled in the process. His subsequent free throw closed the gap to 45-41 with 9:19 remaining.
After WSSU built the lead back to eight points at 54-46, Shaw again trimmed it to six points, this time thanks to a pair of John Savoy free throws with 5:08 remaining. On the next Ram possession, WSSU returned the favor, with WyKevin Bazemore connecting on two free throws.
Shaw’s AliBaba Odd responded by knocking down a three pointer to make it 56-51, but a delay of game technical gave WSSU another pair of free throws.
The Rams connected on one attempt to make it 57-51. Shaw then got a Larry Richardson jumper to fall. Richardson was fouled on the play and knocked down the resulting free throw to draw to within 57-54 with 3:45 left.
WSSU’s Donta Harper scored on a layup to make it 59-54, but Shaw again worked it inside, drawing a foul. AliBaba Odd knocked down the first foul shot and his second attempt was off the mark.
Shaw controlled the rebound but could not get a jumper to fall. WSSU then pushed it ahead, only to commit their 11th turnover of the game. Shaw then got a Joe Reid basket to cut the Ram lead to 59-57 with 2:04 to play.
On their next possession, WSSU’s WyKevin Bazemore was whistled for an offensive foul, his fifth of the game, turning the ball back over to the Bears. After a Shaw timeout with 1:26 left, the Bears tied the game when Jamar Cooper scored after a missed three pointer, tying the game at 59-59 with 1:13 left.
WSSU’s Marquez Jones was able to get to the line and gave WSSU the 61-59 lead with 42.8 seconds remaining after two free throws.
On Shaw’s next possession, a three pointer was off the mark, but the Rams’ Javan Wells controlled the rebound and WSSU called a timeout with 20.5 seconds remaining. With Shaw forced to foul to extend the game, WSSU’s Wells hit a pair of free throws to make it 63-59 with 17 seconds left.
Shaw quickly pushed it ball up the floor and got a finger-roll layup from Odd with 12.2 left to trim the WSSU lead to 63-61. Shaw then sent Wells back to the line with 11.1 left. He connected one shot, leaving Shaw a chance to ty in the waning moments.
Larry Richardson’s three-pointer with two seconds remaining was no good, and WSSU escaped with a 64-61 win.
The Rams got 22 points from Donta Harper and 12 points from Marquez Jones. WSSU also shot 40.7 percent on the game.