(THE PICKET)—The Shepherd men’s basketball team got their season off to a hot start winning their first two games of the season Saturday, Nov. 14, against the Virginia Union Panthers and Sunday, Nov. 15, against the Clarion University Eagles.
The season opener against Virginia Union University was a back and forth battle the entire way through, during which the Rams fought their way to a tough opening season victory.
The Shepherd Rams led the entire first half. The Panthers kept clawing their way back to within 1-point from the lead 11 different times, but the Rams countered with a run of their own after every rally the Panthers had. The teams headed into the locker rooms at the half with Shepherd leading 38-35.
The Rams came out of halftime on fire starting with a 9-2 run that would spark the momentum for the remainder of the half. Similar to the first half, the Panthers had chances to mount a come back sparking several small runs, but Shepherd answered each one with a bigger run of their own. As the clock wound down, the Rams finished on top with an 87-76 lead.
Shepherd’s Winston Burgess led all scorers with 21 points shooting 7-7 from the court and added 6 rebounds.
The rams came into Sunday’s game against the Clarion Eagles on a momentum boost from their dominating 11-point victory the day before. This game, however, would have a much different tempo—unlike Saturday’s game, this game would take until the last second to decide a winner.
The first 10 minutes of the opening half were a back and forth battle in which neither team could get more than a few scores up on the other. As the first half wound down, though, Shepherd put together an impressive run to put them up 11 points with a 42 -33 score heading into halftime.
The second half was a high scoring affair in which Shepherd and Clarion combined for 101 points. This game was dramatic and energetic from the beginning until the final buzzer, and the teams found themselves tied at 87 with 21 seconds left to play.
Just as time was running out, junior guard Naim Muhammad shot the ball off the backboard and in for a buzzer beating layup, giving Shepherd the win 89-87.
Ryan McTavish led the Rams with 24 points and added 5 rebounds.
The Rams take the court again Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. against David & Elkins College.