WSSU men to face one of D2 basketball’s top programs in tourney

WSSU played four games in four days to claim the CIAA title. It was rewarded with an eighth seed and a second chance at a tough IUP team.

Courtesy: WSSU Athletics

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) men’s basketball team will open the 2023 NCAA Division II championship tournament against Indiana University (PA) in Indiana, Pennsylvania on March 11th. The game starts at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and will be live-streamed on 

The Rams (21-8 overall) were seeded No. 8 in the Atlantic Region. Meanwhile, IUP (30-1) is the No. 1 seed. 

The Rams and IUP met back in November this season in the Clarion Classic where the Rams fell 67-50. 

“We had a great turnout for the watch party, I thought it was very inspiring for my staff and my players,” said head coach Cleo Hill, Jr. “We’re familiar with IUP, we played them earlier in the season, and I am familiar with the PSAC conference and Coach Lombardi have done a great job. I’m sure they have improved since the second game of the season and I’m sure we have, so it will be a good game.” 

The Crimson Hawks captured their fourth straight (2019, 2020, 2022, 2023) Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament championship following a 54-53 win against Mercyhurst on March 5 at Shippensburg. They enter the NCAA tournament with a 30-1 overall record.   

WSSU defeated Lincoln (Pa.) 62-57 on Saturday, February 25 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA) Men’s Basketball Championship inside the CFG Bank Arena. The title is the 13th in the Rams’ storied basketball history, including two under head coach Cleo Hill Jr. 

WSSU, Dyquavis Wilkins

Led by 14 points from Samage Teel and 11 each from Jaylon Gibson and Jon Hicklin, the Rams staved off a late comeback from a feisty Lincoln team that was playing in its first-ever CIAA Tourney finals. 

Jaylen Alston was named the Food Lion Tournament MVP and was also named to the CIAA Men’s All-Tournament Team along with Jaylon Gibson and Samage Teel. 

In the preseason poll, the Rams were picked to finish third in the season and second in the Southern Division. 

First-round games begin Saturday, March 11 with the semifinals following on Sunday, March 12. The regional championship is set for Tuesday, March 14 at the KCAC.   

 The Rams and IUP open the NCAA Tournament at 5:00 p.m., while other first-round matchups on March 11 include No. 2 West Liberty and No. 7 (2:30 p.m.), No. 3 Mercyhurst vs. No. 6 East Stroudsburg (noon) and No. 4 Virginia Union vs. No. 5 Fairmont State (7:30 p.m.). 

WSSU men to face one of D2 basketball’s top programs in tourney
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