Men’s Basketball Drops Two

After a disappointing loss on January 26th to Bluefield State, the Rams came back home looking to bounce back against Pitt-Johnstown on January 28th.  They fell short, losing 77-60.


For the Mountain Cats, senior guard Nick Novak powered their offense with 23 points and sophomore big man Ian Vescovi had a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Anytime he got in the lane, it spelled trouble for the Rams’ defense.


Senior forward Chad Moore led the Rams with 12 points and 5 rebounds, well off his season averages of 20.7 points and 9.6 rebounds. Sophomore forward Morgan McDonald had 12 points and 4 boards. Junior guard Brantley Osborne had an off day, scoring only 8 points (half his season average), on a disappointing 3-8 showing from the field. His lack of effectiveness was due to being bottled up all night by the stifling Mountain Cats defense.


When the Rams are on, it’s because of they get everyone involved and make their offense unpredictable. On this night, though, no one seemed to be able to gain any traction. McDonald was the only one who cracked 50 percent from the field, going 4-8. For the game, Shepherd only shot 40 percent. Their three-pointers were not falling (5-25, 20%), and they got outhustled in the rebounding game, 44-31. Shepherd can hang in games because of their dependable free throw shooting, but on this night they only managed to go 9-16 from the charity stripe.


I asked Coach Justin Namolik on what needs to change for the Rams to get out of the current rut they are mired in.


“I don’t feel like we are playing together. There is no sense of urgency. We have to realize how hard it is to get to the top of this league and that is what we are going through right now.  It’s hard, but you have to be able to respond. Our seniors need to step up and we need to make some changes. We have to be tougher and we can’t accept how we played tonight.”


The loss dropped Shepherd to 11-7, and 8-6 in WVIAC play. Pitt-Johnstown improved to 12-7 and 8-7 in the WVIAC.


The Rams did not want to lose three in a row, especially this late in the season heading into Saturday’s road game against Alderson-Broaddus. They could not snap the streak, losing 84-73. The loss was their fourth in five games.


Senior guards Casey Ainslie and Kurklin Bohanon led the Battlers, scoring 19 points and 15 points respectively. They had a balanced attack with five players scoring 10 or more points and had a strong effort from the free-throw line, shooting 20-25 (80%).


Shepherd’s struggles from beyond the arc continued, going a dismal 3-18 (16.7%) from three-point land. During the three game slide, the Rams haven’t shot better than 23 percent at three-pointers. The lone bright spot was their ability to get to the free-throw line, going 18-25. Chad Moore put together his ninth double-double of the season with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Sophomore guard Austin Cunningham scored 17 points, getting back on track after not hitting a single shot against Pitt-Johnstown.


The Battlers improved to 13-5, and 11-3 in the WVIAC. Shepherd’s free fall continues as they are now 11-8, 8-7 in conference play.


Up next for the Rams is another test on the road against the Davis and Elkins Senators (6-12, 5-10) on February 4th. They need to keep senior guard Ian Pinckney in check as he leads the Senators with 18.5 points per game. Most of all though, Shepherd needs to pick up the intensity and do the little things that got them off to the hot start in the first place when they were 8-2.

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