The Shepherd Rams men’s basketball team (1-2) won their first game of the young season on the road Wednesday night in Philadelphia, Pa., against the Holy Family Tigers (0-3) with an 82-65 victory. This was the first of four straight road games for the Rams.
After dropping the first two games of the season, it was the best outing for the Rams statistically, as the Rams won by a 17-point margin.
Against Holy family, the Rams’ offense come to life, as four players scored in double digits, while senior forward A.J. Carr almost reached this total with nine points of his own. Sophomore guard Thomas Lang had his best game of the season in his new starting role, ending the game with 20 points, six assists, and two steals. Lang’s six steals were the most by any player on either team in the game.
Lang is currently averaging 31 minutes per game as he is now relied on more heavily with the career-ending injury to former Rams guard Skyler Roman.
Junior guard Devin Smith added 15 points with four assists and four rebounds in an all-around effort. Senior forward Gavin McTavish totaled 18 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Steffen Davis had a decent outing as he had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
After the game, through email, Rams head coach Justin Namolik spoke on the new-found reliance on certain players this season.
“Although we return a lot from last year’s team, one has to understand that each team is unique and has to go through the process of improving individually and collectively. We have some players who we are relying on to produce for us who have never done that before. Three of those players really stepped up last night – Thomas Lang, Devin Smith, and Gavin McTavish.”
Namolik addressed where the Rams played well in Wednesday evening’s victory as well.
“From a team perspective we showed improvement in our defense and we did a better job of sharing the basketball offensively.”
Following the win, Namolik also gave his thoughts on if the Rams gave any extra effort or played with an added edge to get their first win of the season.
“Your reference of ‘extra edge’ implies we didn’t have ‘edge’ in our first two games. The great Herm Edwards said, ‘you play to win the game.’ If anyone thinks we don’t have the will to win each day in practice [and] in games, their observation and evaluation is inaccurate. This team is 100% committed and they are going to work to improve. We are proud to represent Shepherd and the community of the eastern panhandle.”
The next game for the Rams is on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m. as they travel to Institute, W.Va., to take on West Virginia State.
Vaughn Brewer is a Sports Writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org