The Rams (16-9, 13-6 MEC) held off the University of Charleston Golden Eagles (14-11, 8-11 MEC) 75-74 in a late comeback bid with 5 minutes remaining in the game.
In the first half of the contest, the Rams built up a lead as large as 17. It was a balanced output from the Rams offense in the first half as four Shepherd players had double digit point totals.
The Rams shot the ball well in the first half as well on the way to a 46-38 lead at the half. The Rams shot a respectable 56 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three-point range. Junior forward AJ Carr led the way for the Rams with 11 points and 7 rebounds, with junior guard Skyler Roman adding 12 points in the first half.
Shepherd however, was outscored in the second half 29-36 as the Golden Eagles ramped up their effort to get back into the game in their home arena. Uncharacteristically for Shepherd, the three-point shot that is used often went ice cold. The Rams shot a porous 1-9 from three-point range in the second half of action. This was part of the reason the Golden Eagles made a strong comeback push.
Jordan Smith of the Golden Eagles added 8 points and 5 rebounds in the second half. Along with fellow Golden Eagle Shaq Spieghts adding 8 points and an assist to help lead the comeback attempt.
Forward AJ Carr continued his strong play into the second half with 13 crucial points and 4 rebounds. The rest of the Rams roster struggled to muster much offensive output as no player scored higher than 4 points.
The Golden Eagles came back from as much as 17 points to get a chance to win the game with the last shot with five seconds remaining in the game. However the Eagles could not convert a contested corner three point shot.
Shepherd head coach Justin Namolik spoke after the game on Charlestons’ near comeback when he said, “charleston opened up their new arena in mid January. it is a tough place to play, their fans are loud and their players feed off of the energy. We knew it was going to be a challenge to win there. We were able to build a lead and withstand their runs as they kept coming back. I’m very proud of our fight and composure which enabled us to get the win.”
Even after the close win, coach Namolik had some words for the team ahead of next game when he said, “it’s hard to go on the road and get two wins in our league. We have to forget about the Charleston game and have great focus in our preparation.”
The Rams hope they can start a late season winning streak as they take on West Virginia State University Saturday at 4 p.m.