Hot shooting and balanced scoring led Winston-Salem State to a 74-55 win against Fort Valley State at the CIAA/SIAC Challenge at the Gaines Center.
Four Rams hit double figures, led by point guard Justice Kithcart with 19 contributed 10 points each.
The Rams (1-1) bounced back from an season-opening loss Tuesday to UNC Pembroke.
The Rams shot 45% from the floor, making 23 of 51 shots, and forced the Wildcats into 17 turnovers and 38% shooting.
Shawn Foxbrennen led the way for the Wildcats with 18 points. The Wildcats, who are coached by Mark Sherill, a former star player at Johnson C. Smith and a former assistant under Steve Joyner, Sr., kept it close for a few minutes.
The Rams started to pull ahead midway through the first half. Alston’s layup gave the Rams a 25-20 lead, and a layup by Julius Barnes a little later made it 28-22.
The Rams’ biggest lead in the first half came when Kithcart scored on a driving layup at the buzzer for a 41-24 lead.
The Rams forced the Wildcats (1-3) into 10 first-half turnovers and shot 39% from the field.
WSSU had its biggest lead with 12:41 left in the game when Caldwell made a 3-pointer for a 54-22 lead.
With 6:56 left in the game Gregory Holloway hit a jumper to cut the margin to 16, but Caldwell came right back to make another 3-pointer for the Rams to push the lead to 62-43.
In the first game of the CIAA/SIAC Challenge, it was Shaw holding off Morehouse 87-86. Leading the Bears was Greyson Kelley with 35 points and five rebounds.
In today’s games, Shaw will take on Fort Valley State at 2 p.m., and WSSU will play Morehouse at 4 p.m.
WSSU’s women dominated Piedmont International, winning 98-56 on Friday afternoon at the Gaines Center.
The Rams (3-1) had five players score in double figures, led by Brandi Segars with 16 points and five rebounds. Melody Prichard came off the bench to score 15 points with Taylor Daniels chipping in 12 points. Amaya Tucker and Jahlia Williams each had 11 points.
All 12 players on Coach L’Tona Lamonte’s roster scored in the game as the Rams shot 46% from the floor and were an impressive 30 of 32 from the free throw line (94%).
LeQnzerrea Grubbs led Piedmont International (1-1) with 15 points, and Alysia McLeod added eight points.
The Rams will play a nonconference game on Wednesday at West Liberty.