Bowie State trims Rams in season opener
A considerable crowd of about 600 reported to the Butcher Center to see Shepherd open its men’s basketball season with a 79-71 loss to Bowie State.
Shepherd presented a wholesale group of first-year players, plus three returning starters. Bowie State was coming off an appearance in the Atlantic Regional and had balanced scoring, interchangeable parts and didn’t cede many offensive rebounds to the lukewarm shooting of the Rams.
The Bulldogs weren’t at all menaced by Shepherd’s individual or team defense. Moving out to leads of 20-11 and then 34-16, the Bulldogs either drew fouls or found high percentage shot-attempts for long stretches of minutes.
Shepherd had found some offense of its own and had gotten to within 46-37 by halftime.
Bowie State’s lead was threatened early in the second half but it still led, 60-50, with 11:37 remaining.
The well-officiated game was made even tighter when the Rams got on the bonus at the foul line with 8:05 to play.
Shepherd drew to within 69-67 with 5:19 left, but Bowie State regained its sense of where its earlier scads of points had come from and went inside to move in front, 75-69.
Shepherd managed only two points in the game’s final 3:55 of play.
Omari George, Ahmaad Wilson, Dayshawn Wells, Keith Duffin and David Belle all scored in double figures for the Bulldogs, who were also opening their 2017-18 season.
Bowie State made 46 percent of its field goal tries as compared with Shepherd’s 39 percent.
A.J. Carr had a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Rams, who had only Derek McKnight (11 points) score at all from its lean bench. Steffen Davis, the team’s leading scorer from last season, made just 3-of-11 field goal tries.
Wheeling Jesuit edged Gannon in overtime in the first game of Friday’s season-opening doubleheader.
Shepherd had made a move toward Bowie State’s lead by reaching the foul line and then converting 80 percent of its free throws.
But the Bulldogs were the better and more effective defensive team and didn’t rely much on three-point shot-attempts to eventually deal the Rams a loss in their first game with a revamped roster that includes four freshmen and two transfers on an 11-player squad.