Quick start helps Shepherd to easy victory
SHEPHERDSTOWN — After just four minutes of unchecked scoring, Shepherd led befuddled Mansfield by 16 points. By halftime, the Rams had expanded their lead to 22 points. And when the last rousing ovations had subsided, the Rams had beaten the Mounties, 89-73, on a Senior Day when Thomas Lang — Shepherd’s lone senior — had been given a fond farewell and rewarded his followers with a team-leading 19 points.
In winning the last regular season game, Shepherd completed the regular season with a 14-14 overall record and a 10-12 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference mark. The Mounties drifted out of Shepherdstown with a 6-21 overall record and 5-17 PSAC showing.
Shepherd had all the early answers for Mansfield’s rudderless offense, leading 18-2 with fully 15:59 left in the first half.
Even with 11 minutes remaining in the opening half, Shepherd had 33 points.
The Rams weren’t going to be taxed by the Mansfield defense, which was being negated by Shepherd’s glowing offensive numbers — 63 percent shooting from the floor, 62 percent shooting from three-point range and an 80 percent showing from the foul line. The Rams already showed a nine-rebound advantage on the way to outrebounding the Mounties, 40-27, by the end.
The longest first-half lead grew to 28 points.
Technical fouls dotted the second half when words and body language were directed toward the officials, who brooked no scowling reactions from players. Three technicals were signaled against Mansfield and one against the free-flowing Rams.
Lang was joined in double figures by Phillip Jordan and Kyle Daggett as the Rams had three crowd-pleasing dunks over the Mounties. Jon Preston was Shepherd’s rebound leader with his 10.
Lang left with about a minute to play and drew a mostly standing ovation from the large crowd.
Shepherd’s 10-12 conference record was good enough to earn a fifth-place seeding in the conference’s East Division. The Rams traveled to fourth-seeded Millersville this past Monday for the opening round of the 2020 PSAC tournament. Oddly enough, the Rams owned a pair of one-point wins over the Marauders in the 2019-2020 regular season. A Shepherd win would have sent it traveling to top-seeded Shippensburg on Wednesday, March 4. A loss at Millersville would have brought a losing season to a close.