The Shepherd Rams men’s basketball team (2-4, 1-2 MEC) traveled to Buckhannon, W.Va., Wednesday evening to take on the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats (0-7, 0-3 MEC) in the last of a three-game road stretch, coming out victorious with an 82-64 win. This marked the highest margin of victory thus far on the season for the Rams.
On the young season, the Rams’ record now sits at 2-4, including a 1-2 mark in Mountain East Conference play.
With the Thanksgiving break, the Rams were provided nine days in between games, which provided all the necessary time for the coaching staff to craft an almost perfect game plan.
The Shepherd offense was in rhythm Wednesday night. This was evident by the fact that the Rams shot 50 percent from the floor (26-52), including making five out of 13 three-pointers (38.5%). Getting to the free throw line was also a point of emphasis for the Rams, as they drew numerous fouls that led to 35 free throw attempts. The Rams made 25 of the 35 free throws on the night (71.45), serving as a good source of their impressive offensive production.
During certain moments of the game, it felt as though the Rams could not miss any shot they took.
During the course of the game, there were just two lead changes. The last lead change occurred with 3:39 left in the first half, when the Rams took the lead for good thanks to a successful jump shot by sophomore guard Thomas Lang (16 points, five assists, three steals).
This game also marked a personal season-high in points for junior forward Winston Burgess, who posted 16 points and six rebounds on a very efficient shooting performance from the floor (6-for-7).
After the game Burgess spoke on his and the team’s dominating performance
“I think it was more of just the flow of the game, and our defense was the ma[I]n reason we won that game.”
As a team, the Rams had 10 steals while forcing a total of 13 turnovers from West Virginia Wesleyan and converting those turnovers into 12 points.
The Rams were also able to limit West Virginia Wesleyan to just six points in the paint, as the Rams made them work for every shot.
Three other Rams scored in double digits alongside Burgess and Lang, such as senior guard Steffen Davis (12), junior guard Derek Mcknight (13), and senior forward Gavin McTavish (12), helping provide the necessary firepower to secure the win.
West Virginia Wesleyan’s had two notable performers on the night, such as sophomore guard Luka Petrovic, who contributed 16 points, three assists, and three rebounds. Junior guard Kevin Kangni also added 10 points and four rebounds in the losing effort.
After the game, the head coach of the Rams, Justin Namolik, spoke about what the team’s focus was over Thanksgiving break that helped lead to the victory.
“Over Thanksgiving break our main focus was improving our collective fight and toughness. We are moving in the right direction and that togetherness is going to be key this season.”
Namolik also explained what facets of the game the Rams played particularly well in that helped them secure the road win.
“We played well defensively and that was the main key to victory. We also did a good job of taking care of the ball and limiting our turnovers. Turnovers have hurt us in past games.”
The next game for the Rams is this Saturday, Dec. 2, against Glenville State, as the Rams welcome them to Shepherdstown for a 4 p.m. contest.
Vaughn Brewer is a Sports Writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org