New semester: pair of wins for Shepherd teams
Both Shepherd basketball teams needed an infusion of wins when the spring semester started on Monday with Concord in the Butcher Center for a men’s/women’s doubleheader. The Shepherd women had not been able to find enough able replacements for the four seniors who had carried the 2014-15 team to a first-ever NCAA national tournament berth. The Shepherd men were winless in four games in conference play, even though the overall record was 5-5.
Though there were frigid weather conditions on the outside, both Shepherd teams found close wins on the inside . . . getting the January/February portions of their schedules off to positive starts.
In the 90-83 win achieved by the Shepherd men, reserve guard Steffen Davis rarely missed from the field (going 7-for-10) and made all four of his free throws for a team-high 23 points. Sophomore center A.J. Carr made all five of his free throws, had nine rebounds and finished with a meaningful 20 points.
Ryan McTavish scored 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field. Skyler Roman was credited with 11 assists, while scoring another 15 points and making 5-of-6 free throws. Naim Muhammad, back in the starting lineup for about the third straight game, had 13 points and seven assists.
Concord held a slender, 41-36, lead at the half, mainly because it had already begun to own the rebounding, where it finished with a 41-26 controlling interest.
The Mountain Lions were still 8-3 after the loss.
Shepherd had 21 assists on its 32 field goals.
The Shepherd women had a slender 44-41 lead by halftime and did enough good things in the second half to win in a pulsating finish, 75-72.
Losing the rebounding war for the 11th time in 11 games, the Rams had only 32 rebounds to Concord’s 42.
But the Rams had just 13 turnovers as compared with Concord’s 23 floor mistakes.
Making 14 more free throws than the Mountain Lions had kept Shepherd’s head just above water. The Rams went 24-for-33 from the foul line, while Concord was 10-for-11.
Sophomore guard Morgan Arden had a career high 29 points for the Rams, and she was 11-for-11 from the foul line. Liz Myers finished with 14 points and had five rebounds as the Rams improved to 3-8 overall and 2-3 in Mountain East Conference games.
Kari Lankford made all four of her field goal attempts and had eight points.
One of the leading lights for the Rams was first-year player Tiffany McKinney. McKinney had a season-high 11 points and season-high 10 rebounds in her spotlighted performance off the bench.
The January freeze was an unwelcome visitor for most of those in attendance at the new year’s first doubleheader . . . but both the Shepherd men and women could have cared less about the icy winds swirling outside because they had beaten Concord with hot-shooting performances inside.