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Slippery Rock, Virginia Union games will not be forgotten

By Staff | Dec 13, 2019

Shepherd guard Cam Stephens turns the corner on Jason Fowlkes, in the first half of Saturday's opening PSAC league game against Slippery Rock. David Pennock

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Frenetic endings in its last two games will probably be long-remembered by the players and coaches associated with Shepherd’s basketball team.

The two-point loss in Richmond to Virginia Union and the three-point win that came on a half-court shot, with less than a second left at the Butcher Center against PSAC rival Slippery Rock, are the kind of games players remember, when thinking about highlights from their college games.

Most players can recall their final college basketball games, because they were losses and they couldn’t play again with their teammates. For some reason, losses always come to mind more readily than do the victories.

In its 78-76 loss before a spontaneous crowd of over 2,000 in Richmond, Virginia Union edged the Rams when Terrell Leach made a three-pointer with 1:38 remaining. The back-and-forth game featured 12 lead changes and eight ties. Virginia Union scored the game’s last five points to prevail.

Leach scored a game-high 30 points, making all 10 of his free throws. Jordan Peebles added 22 points, making 9-of-10 of his field goal attempts.

Jon Preston shoots over Deontae Robertson in the first half of Shepherd's overtime victory over Slippery Rock last Saturday. David Pennock

The CIAA team staggered Shepherd on the boards, claiming 34 rebounds to the Rams’ 22. Committing only six turnovers, Virginia Union (then 5-4 with the win) was 28-for-56 from the field and 15-of-21 from the foul line.

The Rams stayed in contention by making 16-of-33 three-point attempts. But Shepherd made only 6-of-12 free throws. Like Virginia Union, the Rams were careful with the basketball, having only five turnovers.

Jon Preston scored 20 points in pacing Shepherd in the scoring column.

Back at home, the Rams were about to go into a second overtime against Slippery Rock, but Kyle Daggett’s half-court shot with 0.6 seconds left lifted them to an 83-80 overtime victory.

The whirlwind finish was further punctuated by other late-game happenings.

Shepherd’s Thomas Lang drilled a three-pointer with just 16 seconds left in regulation that produced a 69-69 tie and necessitated overtime.

Then with only three seconds left in the overtime, Slippery Rock’s Will Robertson made a three-pointer from deep in one corner to bring the count to 80-80. That’s when Daggett was a dagger to The Rock’s heart with his long shot from midcourt.

Again, Shepherd was outrebounded, claiming just 32 missed shots to Slippery Rock’s 43. Limiting its turnovers to just five, the Rams went 11-for-16 from the foul line.

Daggett totaled 21 points while Lang contributed 20 points Jarrell Jones scored 18 points. Slippery Rock had Donovan Walker with 22 points, Robinson with 19 and Jared Armstrong tossed in another 18. Deontae Robertson had 12 rebounds for the just-short Rock.

The current season will play on through the early months of 2020, but the players and coaches will have the memories of the Virginia Union and Slippery Rock games in front of what just happened in the games of just a week before.