On Monday evening, the Rams (1-4, 0-2 MEC) traveled to Charleston, W.Va., where they lost to the Golden Eagles (3-2, 1-1 MEC) by an 82-80 score in Mountain East Conference action.
The Rams now sit at 1-4 and 0-2 in the MEC, as the team will now have to enjoy Thanksgiving break while letting a two-game losing streak permeate. This is surely not the start people had envisioned for this Rams’ team.
It is important to note that the team is still gelling, as there is a newfound reliance on certain players due to injuries.
This is the case with sophomore guard Thomas Lang, as he has been thrust into the starting lineup this season with the knee injury to former starting point guard Skyler Roman. Lang has stepped up quite capably, as he added 16 points and four assists for the game.
Two other Rams players scored in the double digits during Monday night’s contest against the Eagles. Senior forward AJ Carr tied for the game high in points with 20, including four three-pointers. Senior guard Steffen Davis added 14 points of his own to go along with two assists and five rebounds.
It was a tough road loss for the Rams as they attempted a late game comeback with under a minute to go in game action. With under 10 seconds remaining on the clock, Rams junior guard Derek Mcknight scored a layup to get the Rams to within for four at 81-77.
After a 30 second team timeout by the Rams, Davis hit a clutch three-pointer with seven seconds to go to put the Rams within a point at 81-80.
All there was left to do for the Eagles now was hit their free throws, as Shepherd was forced to foul to stop the clock with no timeouts remaining. That is exactly what Charleston’s senior guard Howard Austin did, hitting one of two free throws to put the score at 82-80.
Shepherd was unable to get a final shot off within the final five seconds of game action as the ball had to be advanced the length of the floor.
After the game, Rams head coach Justin Namolik spoke on the team’s resolve despite coming up short in the game on Monday when he said, “I was happy to see us respond after the loss to West Virginia State on Saturday. We did a better job of taking care of the ball but we couldn’t string together enough stops in the second half.”
Namolik offered hopeful statements on the team for the upcoming games after Thanksgiving break when he said, “We’ve lost some tough games but I like the progress we are making. We have not reached our potential yet, but we need to stay together and keep working to improve and learning on how to fight together.”
The next game for the Rams is on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m., as they will travel on the road to take on West Virginia Wesleyan.
Vaughn Brewer is a a Sports Writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org