(Shepherd sophomore point guard Thomas Lang (1), pictured here in a home game against West Virginia Wesleyan back on Jan. 17, compiled 21 points against the Blue Knights, tied for the most in the game by any player on either side with teammate A.J. Carr).
The Shepherd Rams men’s basketball team (14-8, 10-6 MEC) shot the lights out of the Butcher Center, Saturday Feb 3, in their matchup against the Urbana University Blue Knights (5-16, 3-12 MEC), winning 93-68.
The Rams looked impressive from start to finish, as they had a great shooting performance, knocking down 57.4 percent of their shots from the field (31-for-54) and 53.6 (15-for-28) percent from beyond the three-point line.
Shepherd also played excellent on defense, closing off passing lanes, and challenging shots from the inside and from beyond the three-point line. Urbana shot just 31.3 percent (five for sixteen) from the three-point line.
In the beginning of the first half, Urbana tried to match Shepherd’s pace and intensity. Over time, they would start to wear down. Midway through the first half, Shepherd started to run away with the lead, with no intention of looking back.
Shepherd shot 55.17 percent from the field in the first half (16-for-29), and 50 percent (five for ten) from beyond the three-point line. Multiple players contributed on offense for Shepherd, such as sophomore point guard Thomas Lang, and senior forward and captain A.J. Carr, who both collected 21 points.
Lang shot seven for eleven from the field, and five for eight from the three-point line, also dishing out five assists as well.
Carr shot seven for thirteen from the field, knocking down three three-pointers. Carr also grabbed 10 rebounds.
At the end of the first half, Shepherd went into halftime up by 16 points with the score 42-26. In the second half, Shepherd got out to a fiery start on offense, continuing to run the score up.
Senior guard Steffen Davis gave the Rams a boost by dropping 16 points, going four for seven from the three-point line. Junior guard transfer Derrick McKnight had a solid performance coming off the bench, adding 11 points and three assists.
Head Coach Justin Namolik, was pleased to see that his players have become more comfortable, contributing on both sides of the ball. “I’m really happy to see those guys come long,” Namolik said after the game.
The Rams set solid screens offensively, allowing their shooters to get open and knock down open shots. They also out-rebounded the Knights 30-24.
On defense, the Rams used their prominent team chemistry to call out picks and screens, giving Urbana’s guards a hard time.
Shepherd led by as much as 27 points in the second half, as Urbana simply just did not have an answer nor enough firepower to cut the lead down.
Shepherd would go on to win their ninth game at home on the season in the Butcher Center.
The Rams will look to continue their success on the road, as they travel to Concord on Thursday, Feb. 8, for a 7:30 p.m. contest. Two days later, the Rams will travel to UVA-Wise on Saturday, Feb. 10. Next Saturday’s game time is set for 4 p.m.
Justin Cole is a sports writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org