Rams can’t take advantage of Ryan McTavish’s scoring spree
At the half of its game against conference-leading Glenville, Shepherd forward Ryan McTavish had 19 of his team’s 39 points. He had missed only one of his eight field goal attempts and was riding a hot streak like any player rarely sees.
At the end of Glenville’s 82-76 win, it was Donte Morales and his second-half scoring spree that had finally carried the night for the surging Pioneers.
McTavish and his mates had lost five out of their last six games and had skidded off the trail that leads to the Mountain East Conference regular season title. The suddenly off-balance Rams were a troubled 6-8 in league games and only 11-9 overall after once holding to a promising 10-4 record to begin the season.
Even with McTavish’s jaw-dropping shooting exhibition, the Rams were still tied with the Pioneers at 39 at the half.
First-place Glenville had managed better than the Rams in a game with very few fast breaks and even fewer offensive rebounds by either side.
McTavish’s radar-honed three-pointers shoved Shepherd to a 16-7 lead. . . but he was getting no scoring help from anybody else dressed in the Rams’ home-white uniforms.
When a forlorn, five-minute scoring drought visited the Rams, Glenville drew even at 29 on Brett Morris’s three-pointer. Morris wouldn’t miss a shot in the first half where he scored 11 points, but then he was injured with about 12 minutes remaining and missed the rest of the game.
In the decisive second half, Morales notched Glenville’s first six points, but an Austin Cunningham three-pointer had Shepherd ahead, 50-46, with 14:51 to play.
A critical span of about five minutes where the Pioneers and Morales outscored Shepherd, 18-10, all but decided the outcome. Glenville’s 69-60 lead could absorb the shock of an eight-point surge by the Rams.
Still in front, 69-68, the Pioneers managed to outgun the Rams, 13-8, in the last few minutes . . . using the foul line to keep just ahead of the scrambling Shepherd comeback effort.
With West Liberty having lost two league games, the Pioneers have moved alongside the erstwhile No.-1 ranked team in the country and now share first place with the Hilltoppers.
Glenville has lost only three games in its stellar season.
Snagged and butted off course by its latest string of losses, Shepherd had to go back on the long and windy road for three straight games — going to Buckhannon to face West Virginia Wesleyan, moving on to South Euclid, Ohio to see Notre Dame and finally traveling to Urbana in central Ohio to take on the Blue Knights.
Ryan McTavish had 40 minutes of shooting magnificence. But Shepherd couldn’t ride his unerring shooting touch to a much-needed conference win.