'Cats Falter Late in MEC First Round 63-56 Loss to Rams

'Cats Falter Late in MEC First Round 63-56 Loss to Rams

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Frustrating is probably the best way to describe West Virginia Wesleyan's 63-56 loss to Shepherd here tonight in the first-round of the Mountain East Conference Tournament.

Wesleyan owned an early 10-point lead and was ahead at the half, 27-21. They also owned several second half leads, but a late 12-0 run changed the momentum of the game for Shepherd as they will now advance to the second round of the MEC Tournament while Wesleyan's season ends on a sour note.

Wesleyan finished the regular season with an 11-18 record.

Tanner McGrew ended the season on a positive note with his conference leading 16th double-double with 20 points and 17 rebounds.

Anthony Richards was the other Bobcat to reach double digits as he scored 14 points while Austin Shell added eight.

Wesleyan was down early by a 5-4 score but went on a 7-0 run after Shell made a lay-up, Ja'Sahn Johnson made three free throws and McGrew went inside for two to take an 11-5 advantage with 13:18 remaining in the first half.

A Richards three-pointer pushed the Wesleyan lead to seven, at 17-10.

Up 17-13, the 'Cats rattled off the next six points when Johnson made a jumper, McGrew downed two free throws and came back with a lay-up to put Wesleyan ahead by 10, at 23-13, with 3:38 left in the half.

Shepherd closed the half on an 8-4 run, but Wesleyan led by a 27-21 score at the intermission.

McGrew started the second half with two foul shots that made it a 29-21 score but Shepherd rattled off the next eight points to deadlock the game at 29-29.

Garrett Grantham (pictured) ended the run with a jumper but Shepherd made a three to take a 32-31 lead.

Shepherd was ahead 38-36, but McGrew made a lay-up and Richards uncorked a trey to give Wesleyan a 41-38 advantage with 10:10 left on the clock.

A Shell lay-up pushed Wesleyan's lead to six, at 49-43, with 6:28 left in the game.

That is when the Wesleyan offense went ice cold as they didn't score over the next four minutes.

During the span, Shepherd went on a 12-0 run to take a 55-49 lead with 2:32 remaining.

Chris Dewberry ended the drought with a three-pointer that made it a 55-52 game with 2:09 left.

Shepherd scored the next four at the free throw line before Richards scored on a lay-up that made it a 59-54 contest with 48 seconds remaining.

Shepherd tacked on three more at the line before McGrew went inside to put the score at 62-56.

The Rams ended the scoring with another free throw.

Wesleyan shot 44.4 percent from the floor while Shepherd hit at a 38.2 percent rate.

Wesleyan outrebounded Shepherd by a 34-28 margin.

Shepherd was guilty of only two turnovers.

Shepherd improved to 15-14 overall and will now face No. 1 West Liberty on Friday in the second round.


(File photo courtesy of Peter Galarneau Jr.)