Bench strength: Wesleyan gets more help
SHEPHERDSTOWN — When most of its starters were troubled by a lack of production, Shepherd couldn’t reach toward its group of reserves and get any needed help.
Previously winless West Virginia Wesleyan didn’t face such a predicament. The Bobcats received adequate scoring and rebounding from its reserves enough to help in a 62-51 conference win at the Butcher Center last week.
The Rams were out-rebounded, 43-33, committed 20 turnovers, made only 27.5 percent of their field goal attempts and just 18 percent of the three-point tries they launched. In the 59 total minutes the Shepherd reserves logged, they managed only a combined 10 points, while making 25 percent of their field goal tries and 50 percent of their four free throws.
Reserves the Bobcats used, scored a combined 21 points.
After losing its first four games, West Virginia Wesleyan didn’t crackle with electricity in notching the season’s first win.
The Bobcats made just 11-of-19 free throws, had 18 turnovers and made 41 percent of their field goal attempts.
With both teams mostly missing their collective shots, the Bobcats had a 10-8 lead after one quarter. Both teams had an identical 28.6 percent shooting percentage from the field.
Trailing 29-20 at the half, found the Rams getting three points in a combined 31 minutes from its reserves.
In its most productive quarter of the night, West Virginia Wesleyan was able to move to a 46-28 lead at one point, before settling for a 48-33 advantage with one period left.
Much of the Bobcat lead unraveled in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. Missed Bobcat free throws and several three-pointers from the Rams gnawed off points from the deficit and had the difference down to only seven points at 52-45.
More missed Bobcat free throws and two Marley McLaughlin free throws had the Rams contending, behind only 53-50.
From then on, little went Shepherd’s way.
The Bobcats outscored the stalled Rams, 9-1, in the scant remaining time, finding their first win of the season, leaving Shepherd with a second-straight home-court loss and a 3-3 overall record.
A lack of rebounds, lack of positives from the reserves and inadequate shooting pushed the Rams to the loss column.