Men’s Basketball Season Finishes Strong

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The Shepherd University men’s basketball team opened up the first round of the Mountain East Conference tournament at the Butcher Center with a commanding victory over Concord, defeating the Mountain Lions by a final score of 86–68. The win gave the Rams their 20th win of the season.

Junior forward Morgan McDonald led the way for Shepherd in scoring as well as rebounds, with 25 points and grabbing the ball 16 times from the glass. Junior guard Austin Cunningham added 19 points, four assists and four rebounds and senior guard Brantley Osborne had 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the victory.

The Rams took the lead 16–13 on a Marcus Pilgrim three-pointer with 12:48 in the first half and never surrendered the lead again. Senior Marcus Pilgrim entered the game needing to score just one point to reach 1,000 points in his Shepherd University career. Pilgrim easily achieved that by scoring 13 in the game. Shepherd went into the half with a 41–28 edge over Concord.

Concord rallied to pull the score to 73–64 with 3: 18 remaining, but Shepherd then went on a 13–4 run to close out the victory. The Rams shot 50 percent for the game and hit 14 of 18 free throws. Shepherd out-rebounded Concord 42–25.

Shepherd advanced to the quarterfinals to take on fourth-ranked Glenville State at the Charleston Civic Center. A game that experienced 12 lead changes and eight ties came down to the last second as Glenville State barley edged out the Rams 74–72.

Shepherd University went on a 7–1 run at the end of the first half to pull within one, trailing 39–38. The Rams held a five-point lead in the final minutes before Glenville State rallied and tied the game at 70–all on two free throws by Reggie Williams with 44 seconds remaining. McDonald then hit two free throws for the Rams to take the 72–70 lead with 22 seconds left in the game.

Kevin Gray went down and hit a dagger three-pointer for Glenville State, and the Pioneers then led 73–72 with nine seconds remaining. Shepherd had the opportunity to answer, but turned the ball over. Kevin Gray hit one of two free throws with three seconds left for Glenville. Shepherd’s last second desperation shot was off the mark as the Rams fell in quarterfinals action of the inaugural MEC tournament.

Senior Osborne scored a game-high 24 points in which would be his last for Shepherd. Cunningham added 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists. McDonald recorded his 13th double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 boards.

The Rams did not receive a Regional Bid for the NCAA Division II tournament and finished their season with a 20–10 record overall.

The Mountain East Conference honored three Shepherd University players. Osborne received first team honors and led the MEC in free throw percentage (90 percent), third in minutes played, and fourth in scoring (19 points per game) and three pointers made (79).

Cunningham and McDonald both received Honorable Mention honors. McDonald was second in the conference in rebounds and double-doubles.

Osborne was selected to the Daktronics All- Region second team.