Shepherd men stop Charleston
After a first half with few fast breaks or offensive rebounds by either Shepherd or Charleston, the Rams quickened the pace and managed the Golden Eagle zone much better to notch 47 points in the second half and make off with a 75-59 conference win last Saturday in the Butcher Center.
Shepherd outscored the Golden Eagles, 47-26, in the second half after trailing by five points at halftime.
With only two games left, the Rams moved to 16-10 overall and 12-8 in the Mountain East Conference. Charleston, which defeated the Rams before Christmas, was left with a 14-12 overall record and 10-10 mark in conference games.
Charleston’s Keir Anderson was most of the game story in a first half that saw both teams probing against half-court defenses. Anderson scored 17 of his 19 points as the Golden Eagles managed a short-lived 33-28 lead at the intermission.
Once the second half opened, the game’s pace quickened and the points began to flow more freely.
Charleston had a seven-point lead, but the Rams sprinted back and took a never-relinquished lead at 41-40 on Devin Smith’s soft floater in the lane.
After AJ Carr benefited from a Stephen Davis steal and Davis made an open three-pointer, Shepherd was winging away to a 50-42 lead.
An improved Shepherd lead was only increased after reaching the bonus at the foul line with fully 7:39 to play. The Rams would make 17 of their 20 free throws.
When Charleston abandoned its half-court zone, Shepherd had a clearer advantage and used the clock and the foul line to increase its lead until the end.
With only seven turnovers and a 35-30 rebounding edge, the Rams evenly divided their scoring with Davis, Derek McKnight, Smith and Thomas Lang (4-for-14 from the field) in double figures. Winston Burgess claimed 10 rebounds and scored eight points; Carr was uncommonly quiet.
Shepherd concludes its regular season tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Butcher Center against third-place Fairmont. The Rams were in fourth place going to Glenville last night.
The Rams defeated Glenville in Shepherdstown, but lost to Fairmont on the road in earlier games.
The quickly disappearing season should end with a free-scoring, up-tempo finale when the Fighting Falcons of first-year coach Joe Mazzulla are in with a team attempting to reach the NCAA Regional for a second straight year.