Rams stay atop WVIAC

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherd worked enough magic in the last few minutes of the opening half and then used the foul line to its advantage in the second half to stave off Davis & Elkins, 90-81, in a WVIAC men’s basketball game on Saturday at the Butcher Center.

The Rams trailed by a point with six minutes left in the first half, but came to intermission with a 44-39 lead. And in the second half, Shepherd went 13-for-19 from the foul line to finally get away from the winless but pesky Senators.

A game-long, Shepherd full court press finally sapped just enough energy from the Senators, who were playing their first road game after three close losses at home.

Austin Cunningham tries to get around a Davis & Elkins defender in Shepherd’s WVIAC win.

Austin Cunningham tries to get around a Davis & Elkins defender in Shepherd’s WVIAC win.

Shepherd had the better and deeper bench, while Davis & Elkins countered mostly with its three-point marksmanship where it went 14-for-29.

One of the clear areas that favored Shepherd was at the foul line where the Rams were 21-for-30 and Davis & Elkins was only 9-for-13.

And Shepherd’s ballhandlers were superior to those of the Senators. Davis & Elkins, now 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the WVIAC, had 19 turnovers and Shepherd had only nine as a team.

After Sidney McCray had scored 14 points and Chad Moore another 13 points in the first half, Shepherd had managed a scant five-point lead by halftime.

The second half was anything but easy for the Rams.

Shepherd’s press was draining enough on the Senators, but the continuous rain of three-pointers kept the game close.

Davis & Elkins went to a 2-3 halfcourt zone with 8:40 to play. That alignment did slow Moore a bit, but the Senators fouled him on his twisting and quick-off-his-feet moves in the lane.

After the Senators’ Devin Miller made three long-range field goals in a short space, the game was even at 73-73 with five minutes left.

A two-point Shepherd lead was gradually and grudgingly moved forward from the foul line. The nine-point lead at the finish was Shepherd’s longest lead of the long night.

With a 6-1 overall record, Shepherd stayed atop the league with a 3-0 record.

Now it will be final exams taking precedence on the construction-clogged Shepherd campus. The next game isn’t until Dec. 19 when the surging Rams take to the road for four or more hours and see Wheeling Jesuit in the team’s fourth conference game.

For now, the Rams have been able to use their depth and six double-figure scorers to move quickly from the 2012-13 starting gate.

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