Shepherd men helped by first-half marksmanship
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherd’s leaking ship was in need of caulking. And the best caulking in the world of men’s college basketball is a win.
Visiting Bloomsburg was the team that Shepherd intended to use as its caulking.
With mostly accurate perimeter shooting in the first half, the Rams stopped their leaking of losses by defeating the Huskies, 85-74, in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference game that left Shepherd at 10-12 overall and 6-10 in the league. Bloomsburg, which stopped the Rams at home, was left with a 8-15 overall mark and a 5-12 conference record.
Shepherd produced a 45-37 lead at halftime by connecting on 17-of-31 field goal attempts and 11-of-23 three-point tries. That uncomfortable eight-point lead proved to be enough to squelch any comeback tries by the Huskies.
It was an especially well-officiated game and smoothly flowed from one end to the other with few fouls whistled and few turnovers committed by either team at any time.
Shepherd did not shoot a free throw in the first half and was 6-for-6 for the night. Bloomsburg was 2-for-4 on its first-half free throws and just 4-for-7 for the game. Turnovers were never a problem. Shepherd had six by halftime with the Huskies showing only seven floor errors.
Shepherd’s live ram mascot had lounged through the opening half, much as he had done through the women’s game. When “J.C.” left with his handlers with 5:56 remaining in the half, one wondered if Shepherd was losing its good luck charm.
No worry. Phillip Jordan’s career-high 23 points, Kyle Daggett’s 20 points and 11 points each from Jon Preston, Jarrell Jones and Thomas Lang were enough to offset the early exit from the live mascot.
Shepherd’s effective perimeter passing had produced 11 first-half assists on its 17 field goals.
After the mid-1970s team that rollicked along with a 33-3 final record was introduced at halftime, the modern-day Rams continued their near-flawless passing to continually hold leads of between four and nine points as the last half progressed.
The game’s tempo remained much the same with very few turnovers and not many fouls being whistled.
Bloomsburg placed four scorers in double figures, but could never scrape away all of Shepherd’s lead, moving to within 71-67 with 5:10 left, but never doing any more.
J.C. was gone, and so was Shepherd’s two-game losing streak.