WINSTON-SALEM, NC — The crowd and the entertainment arrived behind schedule, and the PA system never materialized but WSSU didn’t need either to hit a new home win-streak milestone.
Winston-Salem State (8-1) rode its ACC transfer and sophomore backcourt to an easy 86-57 win over Clark Atlanta on Saturday. The win was the 20th consecutive in a row for it inside the C.E. Gaines Center.
Leading the way for the Rams on the scoring front was Jaylon Gibson, who put up 25 points and 11 rebounds while blocking two shots on the win. The former NC State big man helped his new squad outscore their SIAC foe 48-16 in the paint and get eight second-chance points on eight offensive rebounds.
Despite coming in with just one win through the first month of the season, WSSU head coach Cleo Hill said he thought Clark Atlanta was better than its record — but his team took some convincing.
“They played Tuskegee really, really tough and took them to overtime and I figured we would take them lightly. And then we did,” Hill said frankly after the game. “And I give them credit, they came out the first half and they they played tough, They played hard, and we had no answer for their guards. We had zero answers for that. And I think at halftime, I think we did a little bit better.”
WSSU guards Samage Teel and Issac Parson were a problem for CAU all night. The redshirt sophomores both had big nights, with Teel scoring 22 points on 6-for-9 shooting while Parson scored 17 on 6-for-8 shooting, hitting both of his 3-point attempts.
“It feels good to keep having the success that we’re having,” Parson said after the game. “You know we’re just putting in the work every day, just listening to Coach Hill, Coach Beck and Coach Wilson, following instructions.”
Winston-Salem State’s home streak will be tested again this week as three CIAA teams from the Northern Division will be in town on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday — including nationally ranked Virginia Union. VUU handed WSSU three of its seven losses during the 2021-2022 season. The crowds will likely be a bit lighter as most students are headed home for the holidays.
Hill, who is 58-33 at WSSU, is hoping that the local community can make up for the difference as the Rams prepare of the pre-holiday home stretch.
“We haven’t lost a game (at home) since pre-pandemic,” Hill said. “So I think the community and the student body, I think they do a great job and we hope they all come out for the next three games.”