Times West Virginian
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. —
Fairmont State backup true freshman point guard Shammgod Wells banked in a 3-point field goal from 21-feet out at the top of the key with 2.7 seconds remaining to help the Falcons upset No. 19 Winston-Salem State University, 76-75, here Saturday evening at the C.E Gaines Center.
“We were on the free-throw line at the other end, and I just knew and felt like something was going to happen,” said Wells, who finished with eight points, seven of which came in the final half. “When he missed his second free throw and we got the rebound I was thinking coming up the floor we have four starters who have fouled out and we’re in a hostile environment why not go for the win.
“When I came down Mamadou (Datt) set the screen and I was looking to penetrate and kick it to Chase (Morgan). When I saw the guy go under the screen it was just instinct for me to shoot it. When I saw it go through I just knew we had the win. Everyone was jumping up and down and the whole gym, except for the Fairmont section, got quiet. This was a huge win for us.”
Winston-Salem’s Tyre Desmore, who had missed the second free throw seconds earlier which would’ve given the Rams a three-point lead, got off a desperation shot at the buzzer which hit the rim and fell harmlessly to the floor.
The victory improved Fairmont State to 3-0 on the year. Winston-Salem fell to 2-1.
Fairmont overcame a ton of obstacles to record the victory including having four starters foul out of the game and an 11-point deficit in the final 6:35. Helping to key FSU’s comeback was junior guard Chase Morgan, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the final 6:13. Morgan drained a trio of 3-pointers during that stretch and a pair of crucial free throws.
“The whole game was just wild,” said Morgan. “The fans were really into it. They had their band there and our backs were pretty much against the wall all night. You know, though, we practice very hard, and we’re just a resilient team. We’re taught to play hard and fight for the whole game, and tonight’s that exactly what we did.
“Sham’s shot was unbelievable. He dribbled down, shot it with complete confidence and nailed it. As for me I’m always 100 percent confident in my shot. That’s what I do. Any time a shot leaves my hand I feel like it’s going to go in and I’m thankful that my teammates have confidence in me and look for me in certain situations. I’m not the only guy, though, who got it done tonight. Caleb (Davis) hit a big three during that run and Stevie Browning had a huge three very late which got us to within one.”
Trailing 58-47 Fairmont used six 3-point field goals, one follow up bucket by Browning and a 9-of-12 performance at the foul line to outscore the Rams 29-17 in the game’s final 6:35. Winston-Salem also aided FSU by going just 4-of-8 at the foul line in the last 56 seconds.
“We worked really, really hard all week to prepare for this game, and at the end of the day what happened for us is guys made plays,” said FSU coach Jerrod Calhoun. “We did not play particularly well, but we found a way to win. That’s a sign of good things to come when you have a youthful team.
“We’re now 4-0 against CIAA teams the last two years, 3-0 against the CIAA this year and to go on the road and get a win like this over a very good Winston-Salem team, which I believe is going to win a lot of games this year, I think should really help us seeding-wise come NCAA Tournament time.”
In the second half FSU starters Brandon Cooper (9:21), Ke’Chaun Lewis (8:11), Caleb Davis (1:52) and Stevie Browning (9.8 seconds) all fouled out of the contest.
With those guys gone, it was Morgan, Wells, Datt and Thomas Wimbush who stepped up. Morgan and Browning both led FSU with 14 points. Davis chipped in 12, Wimbush finished with nine and Cooper, Wells and Datt all contributed eight points apiece.
“Chase is getting better defensively and working hard on rebounding the ball, but what Chase can do is make shots,” said Calhoun. “Any place, anywhere and at any time he can shoot the basketball and he makes timely shots. He’s not scared of the moment. Tonight he wasn’t scared, and I thought Shammgod Wells wasn’t either. We had no timeouts and I was doing everything I possibly could to run things. It was very difficult, but he just stepped up and made a big one for us to win it.”
Winston-Salem was led by Marquez Jones, who finished with 21 points, 16 of which came in the second half. The Rams also got 17 points from Preston Ross before he was slowed by an injury and 16 from WyKevin Bazemore.
FSU will be idle now until Saturday, Nov. 23 when it opens Mountain East Conference play at home at the Joe Retton Arena at 4 p.m. against West Virginia Wesleyan.