B.J. Fitzgerald hit two free throws with 28.7 seconds left to help Virginia State hold off visiting Winston-Salem State 84-78 on Thursday night.
The Trojans held the lead for most of the game but the Rams, playing for the first time in 10 days, kept it close throughout.
After Fitzgerald made the two free throws the Rams couldn’t get anything on the other end. The Rams were forced to foul and the Trojans scored two more from the free-throw line with two seconds to play.
The Rams had cut the lead to 82-78 before Fitzgerald’s free throws when Robert Colon converted a 3-point play.
The Trojans improved to 6-4 overall and 3-1 in the CIAA. The Rams fell to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in league play.
The Trojans led 43-37 at halftime but Jaylen Alston helped rally the Rams and with 17 minutes to go in the game he hit a 3-pointer that gave them their first lead of the game at 49-48.
Coach Cleo Hill Jr. welcomed back guard Justice Kithcart, a senior transfer from Old Dominion. Kitchart has been battling a knee injury that forced him to miss the last five games.
Kitchcart was averaging 18 points for the Rams before he was lost with the injury. He wore a right knee brace in his return to the floor on Thursday night. He wound up playing 23 minutes but scored just two points as he went 1 for 7 shooting.
Colon led the Rams with 15 points and Glen Campbell added a career-high 14 points. Dontae Caldwell had 12 points and Alston added 10 points. Center Mason Harrell added 10 points and five rebounds.
The Rams had an unusual and unscheduled 10-day break between games. On Saturday their bus broke down on the way to Elizabeth City State and the game was postponed until next month.
The Trojans, one of the highest scoring teams in the CIAA, were coming off a hard-fought 128-122 double overtime loss at Livingstone on the weekend. In that game the Trojans wound up making taking 99 shots and making 44 but lost to the Blue Bears.
In the women’s game WSSU had its two game win streak snapped as Virginia State won 54-46.
The Trojans improved to 6-5 overall and 3-2 in the CIAA. The Rams fell to 5-5 overall and 2-3 in the CIAA.
Brandi Segars led the Rams with 12 points and Melody Prichard chipped in with 11 points.
Both of the WSSU teams continue with the road trip on Saturday at Virginia Union. The women play at 2 p.m. with the men’s game to follow.