In what resulted in an up and down week, the Shepherd University men’s basketball team lost their fourth game of the season this week while also picking up another win to bring their overall record to 14–4.
On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Rams had a home game where they faced off against the Fairmont State University Fighting Falcons. They ended up losing the game by a final of 90–85 in overtime. The Rams built a substantial 14-point lead before halftime, only to lose it in the second half before eventually falling to the Fighting Falcons in overtime. Fairmont State guard Stevie Browning really posed some serious problems for the Rams. He recorded a game-high 26 points. Austin Cunningham led Shepherd with 20 points.
For the Rams, rebounding of the basketball was a major problem. The Fighting Falcons beat them 50–26 in that statistic, and two players from FSU were over double-digits in that category while a third player finished the game with nine rebounds. To go along with that, FSU got 19 offensive rebounds to Shepherd’s five. Those offensive rebounds led to second chance points, ultimately hurting the Rams in the end. The loss snapped the Rams’ three-game win streak. Fairmont State University improved their record to 10–6 overall on the year.
Following their fourth loss, the Rams had a quick turnaround and played just two days later at home against the West Virginia State University Yellow Jackets where they got back on the winning track, winning the game by a final score of 93–92. This was the second meeting between these two squads with Shepherd coming out on top in both contests. Brantley Osborne led the Rams with 22 points. Marcus Pilgrim came off the bench and added a cool 17. It was Pilgrim who sealed the win for the Rams. With two seconds left and trailing by only one point, he went to the free throw line and nailed both of his attempts from the charity stripe. He was seven out of eight at the line for the day. The win improved the Rams’ conference record to 9–3 while the Yellow Jackets season record dropped below the .500 mark to 7–8 overall.
On the upcoming Rams’ schedule, there are two away games in the coming week. On Thursday, Jan. 30, the Rams will travel to face the University of Charleston to take on the Golden Eagles. This will be the second matchup of the season for these two teams after the Rams won the first game by 15 points back on Dec. 8. The Golden Eagles are on a seven-game win streak, so they will be up to the challenge.
The next game will take place at Glenville on Saturday, Feb. 1. Shepherd won the previous meeting 98–78 back on Nov. 23. The Pioneers have a record of 10–6 on the season. This is the point during the season when the Rams really need to keep racking up the conference wins if they are to keep pace with foe West Liberty.