The Rams were in action Saturday evening at home in the Butcher Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, against the 19th-ranked Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals. Thanks to a dazzling offensive performance, the Rams (12-8, 8-6 MEC) were able to hold off the Cardinals (15-4, 11-3 MEC) by a 99-88 score.
The energy was high in the Butcher center as the Rams came out for warm ups. From the opening tip, Shepherd was focused and determined. The Rams jumped to an early lead and did not look back.
From three-point range, the Rams were particularly effective, making half of their attempts (6-of-12) from beyond the arc.
The Rams were fairly potent offensively regardless of where they shot the ball. Inside and out, the Rams’ offense was finding all kinds of early success against the Cardinals.
Heading into halftime, the Rams lead the Cardinals 34–26 and carried all of the momentum.
After the break, the Rams did not miss a beat. Starting exactly where they left off, Shepherd grew its lead to as many as 20 points in the second half.
Despite the dominant performance, however, Wheeling Jesuit did not go quietly. With 2:08 remaining, the Cardinals manage to cut the lead to 10 with a successful layup attempt by senior forward Pat Moseh, making the score 84-74 in favor of the Rams.
With aggressive defensive play, Wheeling Jesuit tried to reduce the margin even more, but this effort came a little too late . The Cardinals were forced to foul, hoping to get the ball back. The Rams made enough of their free throws down the stretch to seal the 99-88 upset over the 19th–ranked Cardinals, pleasing the home crowd in the process.
Wheeling Jesuit senior forward Haywood Highsmith lead all scorers in the game with 31 points by shooting 9-for-18 from the floor. Highsmith had a double-double as well by collecting a game-high 13 rebounds.
Moseh was another Cardinal that the Rams had trouble containing. Against the Rams, Moseh finished with a double-double just like Highsmith, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
The Rams were led by sophomore guard Thomas Lang, who posted 23 points on a 5-for-7 shooting effort from the floor. Lang finished perfect from the free throw line by making all 10 of his attempts from the foul line.
Freshman guard Cam Stephens finished the game with 16 points by shooting 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Steffen Davis and senior forward AJ Carr both contributed 12 points as well for the Rams.
The Rams will be aiming to win their second game in a row when they face Notre Dame at home in the Butcher Center on Thursday evening, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m.
DJ Cornish is a sports writer for The Picket. He can be reached at email@example.com