Eckerd hands No. 25 Rams first loss
Tritons hold Winston-Salem State to 31 percent shooting in win
TAMPA, Fla. – Eckerd toppled one of the nation's unbeatens to open the Tampa Classic, handing 25th-ranked Winston-Salem State its first loss of the season on Thursday, 75-51.
Junior Darrien Mack led the way with 14 points, senior Lance Kearse checked in with 13 and sophomore Alex Bodney netted 12. Josh Snodgrass was also in double-figures, scoring nine of his 11 points in the first half.
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The Tritons (6-3 overall) opened some eyes at the Martinez Center, holding the Rams (7-1) to just 25 percent shooting in the first half (31.6 percent overall) and carved out a nine-point advantage by the break.
“I felt for the first time this year, we played defense for 40 minutes and we made their shots tough,” Eckerd head coach Tom Ryan said. “We haven't really done that for a 40-minute stretch this year.
“We were able to get a couple of good transition buckets off their pressure, drew a couple charges and had a couple of three-point plays,” Ryan added. “Our defense and rebounding was solid the whole way and that was the key.”
It didn't take long for the Tritons to catch stride as they took the lead for good at the 16:50 mark in the first half off a free throw by Wayne Sears Jr. That started a 12-3 run capped with a layup from Snodgrass to put Eckerd ahead by 10.
Freshman Malcolm Brunner Jr. made a layup to account for the lone field goal inside four minutes remaining in the first half as scoring for both sides was tough to come by before the intermission.
The Tritons held a 43-37 overall advantage in the rebound department and shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half. WSSU misfired on 21-of-28 field attempts in the first period and labored at the free-throw line in the second half, making 3 of 11.
Eckerd kept its foot on the accelerator and never trailed in the second half, leading by as many as 27.
Bodney drained one of his two 3-point buckets to begin the final frame and a Mack layup soon after put the Tritons ahead by 15.
The Rams wouldn't come any closer the rest of the way, falling behind by 20 after a pair of free throws by Snodgrass, and faced their largest deficit at 27 after another basket by Mack with four minutes to go in regulation.
LaMar Monger led Winston-Salem State with 11 points.