INSTITUTE— The Shepherd men saved one of their best all-round team performances for the first round of the WVIAC tournament.
The Rams responded well to the six-hour trip and used (1) a season-high and career-high 26 points from point guard Marcus Pilgrim, (2) an 82 percent (23-for-28) showing from the free throw line, (3) a dominating 44-33 rebounding advantage, and (4) a sizzling second-half performance from Chad Moore to defeat the Yellow Jackets, 77-66, and move on to the quarterfinals.
Pilgrim made all 11 of his free throws and was 6-for-11 from the field. Moore was foul-troubled in the first half and went scoreless in those 20 minutes before exploding for 18 second-half points and most of his 12 rebounds. It was his 14th double-double of the season.
Shepherd went 14-for-22 (63.6 percent) from the field in the second half and began that segment with a dominating 20-6 run of points that boosted the Rams to a 52-32 lead.
Shepherd was 14-13 overall.
Top-seeded West Liberty made almost 60 percent of its first-half shots when it scored 72 points before halftime in its comfortable 115-74 win over the Rams in the tourney quarterfinals.
All of West Liberty’s 12 players received at least 10 minutes of playing time and six of them scored in double figures. Alex Falk had 20 points, C.J. Hester 19, reserve Shawn Dyer 17, reserve Keene Cockburn 15, Cedric Harris 11, and Tim Hausfeld 10 for the Hilltoppers, then 27-2 overall.
Shepherd trailed, 72-40, at the half. The Rams made only 22-of-40 (55 percent) of their free throws. Chad Moore turned in his 15th double-double of the season when he scored 27 points and hauled down 16 rebounds. Brantley Osborne contributed 19 points as the Rams finished the season with a 14-14 overall record.