Rams fall to UP-J, Bluefield

SHEPHERDSTOWN — At least nobody got hurt.

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Little else went right for Shepherd on Monday when the Rams couldn’t defend Pitt-Johnstown’s Nick Novak and didn’t shoot well at all in absorbing a disheartening 77-60 loss at their Butcher Center.

Even with Aeron Spencer inserted into the starting lineup to calm the Mountain Cat point guard’s contributions, the do-everything scorer/ballhandler controlled the flow of the action for the most part.

Novak scored 23 points, missing only three shots from the field by constantly driving through traffic to the throat of the basket and delivering two points.

Austin Cunningham is defended well by Ian Vescovi of UPJ.

Austin Cunningham is defended well by Ian Vescovi of UPJ.

The Mountain Cats made 52 percent of their field goal attempts and went a crisp 21-for-26 (81 percent) from the foul line in improving their record to 12-7 overall and 8-7 in the WVIAC.

Shepherd fell back, 16-7, before actually taking a slender lead just before the first half finished. But Ram leaders Chad Moore and Brantley Osborne were either in constant foul trouble or were not shooting well, and the Rams had no one else find a better stride than they are used to hitting.

After Moore scored the first points of the second half, Pitt-Johnstown turned on a 13-2 spurt of points and showed a 52-37 lead that was little threatened in the final 14 minutes.

Not only were the Rams faring poorly from the field (35.4 percent), but they tried only 16 foul shots and converted but nine of those.

Even worse, Shepherd was outrebounded, 44-31, in seeing its overall record dip to 11-7 and its WVIAC mark move to 8-6.

Ian Vescovi had 13 rebounds and scored inside often enough to finish with 18 points.

Osborne went scoreless in the second half, while the foul-plagued Moore had only four points in the first half.

Novak had been in control. Shepherd was bruised on the boards and couldn’t shoot straight enough. And a 17-point homecourt loss was the result.[/cleeng_content]

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