Winston-Salem State took its fans on a roller-coaster ride for the second time in a week at home, but Monday it came up with a more favorable result.
WSSU managed to rally from a double-digit deficit and hold off a late Claflin run for a 68-66 win in the C. E. Gaines Center. The win improved WSSU to 6-2 in the CIAA, keeping it in sole possession of the top spot in the Southern Division.
Jaylen Alston led the way for the Rams with 25 points on 8-for-10 shooting and senior guard Robert Colon added 13 points, including the game-clinching free throws.
Claflin led by as many as eight in the first half and went into the locker room up 27-22 at halftime. It stretched the lead to 11 as late as 13:32 remaining in the second half before WSSU woke up.
The Rams took a 49-48 lead with 8:42 remaining on a pair of free throws by Justice Kithcart. They led by as many as nine with 5:28 to go, but the Panthers hung around and kept the game within reach until a pair of free throws by Colon with one second remaining filled the final score board. Colon was 11-for-12 from the free throw line.
The Rams got solid contributions off the bench as Mason Harrell got nine points and 11 rebounds and Dontae Caldwell scored nine points and secured four rebounds to help out.
Devin Smith led Claflin (10-9, 5-5) with 17 points.