The Rams dominated the paint in their matchup against UVA-Wise winning 85-71

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AJ Carr had a double-double, collecting 21 points and 11 rebounds in the Shepherd Rams' match Saturday against UVa- Wise.(Photo Courtesy of Shepherd University's Athletics Department)

The Shepherd Rams men’s basketball team had a great win at home against UVA-Wise Saturday, Jan. 6, defeating the Cavaliers 85-71.

It was a cold day in Shepherdstown on Saturday, but the Rams would not let the weather hinder their performance. In the first half, Shepherd got off to a great start offensively by shooting 64 percent from the field and 36.36 percent from the three-point line.

The Rams simply exposed the Cavaliers’ defense, maintaining a balanced attack led by senior forward AJ Carr, who had a double-double by collecting 21 points and 11 rebounds. Carr helped spread the floor as the forward, posing as a threat from the three-point line and in the paint, standing at 6 feet 6 inches.

Junior center Winston Burgess also gave the Cavaliers problems in the paint, scoring 19 points on an impressive eight-of-eight shooting from the floor while recording five defensive rebounds as well. Senior guard Steffen Davis and sophomore guard Thomas Lang reached double figures in scoring, with 15 and 11 points, respectively. Both guards are deadly beyond the three-point line.

With a free throw by Carr, the Rams would expand their lead to 11 with 2:32 remaining in the first half.

In the second half, head coach Justin Namolik’s game plan was clearly to attack the inside of the Cavaliers’ defense, as the Rams drove the ball inside and scored continually in the paint in the final half of action. 

Shepherd scored a total of 32 of its 85 points in the paint on the afternoon.

Shepherd would expand their lead to 15 points about midway through the second half, but Michal Seals, a sophomore point guard, would help the Cavaliers decrease that lead to 13  by making two free throws with 11:17 remaining to help keep UVa-Wise in the game.

Seals was a problem for the Rams to contain during the course of the game. On Saturday, Seals had 17 points and six assists.

UVa-Wise had a tough day offensively, shooting only 39.7 percent from the floor. In the second half, the Cavaliers shot just 36.11 percent, including a dismal 26.32 percent (5-19)  from the three-point line.

Shepherd made UVa-Wise work for their buckets, challenging shots and closing off the driving lanes, all done by their great team communication. During timeouts, or in between someone shooting free throws, the Rams called out various tendencies happening during the game.

The Rams continued to stick to the game plan, giving them a comfortable lead, and forcing the Cavaliers to rush their three-pointers.

Time would expire, giving the Rams their second victory in 2018.

The Rams will look to continue their five-game winning streak when they travel to South Euclid, Ohio, to face Notre Dame College, on Thursday, Jan 11. Thursday’s game will start at 7:30 p.m.

Justin Cole is a Sports Writer for the Picket, he can be reached at: jcole07@rams.shepherd.edu