Carr, Roman leave bench to help Rams grind out a win
A. J. Carr and Skyler Roman hopped off Shepherd’s bench and gave immediate help to a team missing polish and fluid execution when the Rams edged West Virginia Wesleyan, 76-73, in Monday’s Mountain East Conference game.
With the Shepherd students away for the Thanksgiving break there was little noise or electricity coming from the crowd of about 300. But there were plenty of fouls, frequent turnovers and limited patience coming from both teams. Shepherd was playing after a disastrous game against Glenville where it had given up a staggering 71 points to the Pioneers in the second half, losing a 10-point halftime lead. . . and the conference game.
With its offense stalled in the first eight minutes, Shepherd received a quick jump-start from Carr, a freshman inside player. Carr made all three of his first-half shots and had eight points in seven minutes playing time. He was joined by fellow reserve Roman, who played nine first-half minutes and scored six points as the Rams had a paper-thin 32-28 lead.
The Rams had attempted only 25 shots, had a troublesome 12 turnovers and could claim only 11 rebounds. The Bobcats were even more grounded by their own problemed play as they attempted only 24 shots, had 17 turnovers and struggled against the full court press they faced.
Mired by another stagnating offense in the second half, Shepherd had Carr bounce off the bench again. He would play another 14 minutes and score another 10 points, finally finishing with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds. Roman also returned to give the Rams his steady if unspectacular minutes. He finished with 12 points, had three rebounds and two steals in his 23 minutes of reserve aid.
In the second half, fouls were more frequent than anything else. Both teams were in the double bonus for all of the last 10 minutes. And both relied heavily on their accurate free throw shooting to score. Shepherd was 25-for-33 at the foul line while the true-aim Bobcats were 18-for-20.
Shepherd grew its lead to 12 points, but the Bobcats always had the foul line or a three-point field goal to keep close to the hard-won lead.
Rams’ guard Austin Cunningham made numerous free throws in the waning moments. Even when he finally missed two straight there was just over one second to play and West Virginia Wesleyan couldn’t counter a last time.
The Rams moved to 4-1 and the Bobcats dipped to 1-4 . . . and Shepherd will welcome its vociferous student body back when it next plays at home on Dec. 4.