Difficult start overcome by Rams at the foul line
SHEPHERDSTOWN — A faltering start had Shepherd stumbling to an 18-2 deficit in its conference game against Charleston.
Righting itself, little else went wrong for Shepherd as it emphatically ran after the Golden Eagle lead, catching the visitors and finally assuming a seven-point lead by halftime, and then using its beaten path to the foul line to score 63 second-half points in finally prevailing, 101-93, at the Butcher Center.
There was no pace attained in the second half, as the game became bogged down by most of the massive total of 58 fouls called and the whopping 80 free throws the teams combined to shoot.
With Derek McKnight making 16-of-21 fouls, the rest of the Shepherd roster missed only one free throw, to register a 37-for-43 grand total. Meanwhile, the foul-happy Golden Eagles were tagged with 32 personal fouls, but went 29-for-37 at the foul line in losing.
McKnight had 26 points, and five of his game-high assists total came from dunks by Winston Burgess. Burgess only tried 18 shots from the field, but made 14 and scored 32 points.
In scoring 101 points, the Rams missed only 17 field goal tries, making 29-of-46 attempts, or 63 percent.
Charleston basically turned its half-court offense over to its guards, especially in the second half, where Drew Rackley accounted for 36 of the team’s 62 points — leaving him with a game total of 47 points.
For long stretches of time, Rackley and McKnight staged back-and-forth trips to the foul line.
Once Shepherd had blasted Charleston with a withering 22-6 scoring spree in the middle of the first half, the complexion of the game became one of trading points at the respective foul lines.
Shepherd briefly moved to an 18-point lead, but then had a rapid-paced three turnovers and the Golden Eagles loomed large at the free throw stripe to come much closer.
Burgess kept accepting assist passes from McKnight, and dunked on the scattering Golden Eagles.
Foul or fair, the Rams didn’t care; they improved their record to 4-1 and don’t play again until Nov. 28, when West Virginia Wesleyan visits for Shepherd’s sixth straight home game, to begin the season.