Shepherd edges west liberty in ot

December 01, 1996


Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Ron Fitzpatrick isn't the type of freshman whose elbowing to get ahead. He'll gladly accept donations.

Fitzpatrick scored his only two points of the game on a gift from West Liberty's Jeff Respecki with 53 seconds remaining in overtime Saturday to lift Shepherd College to an 86-82 West Virginia Conference victory at the Butcher Athletic Center.

The Rams (2-1, 1-0) completed their fourth major comeback of the game on Rashad Crutchfield's 15-foot baseline jumper to take a 81-80 lead. On the basket, Shepherd slapped a full court press, leading to Fitzpatrick's steal and lay in.

"Rashad moved and pushed (Respecki) over my way," Fitzpatrick said. "Then when he turned around, there was the ball. He just kind of handed it to me."


And all but handed the game to the Rams. The Hilltoppers (2-2, 1-1) scored to cut the lead to one, before Richie Sutherland hit three foul shots in the final 31 seconds to ice the game. Sutherland scored seven of his team-high 21 points in overtime.

The hero role is a big reversal for Fitzpatrick. Just last week, the 5-foot-10 point guard from Lanham, Md., didn't play in Shepherd's season-opening loss to the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.

"He made a big aggressive play and finished it up," Shepherd coach Denny Alexander said. "He didn't have a great game, but he came up with the great play. To be honest, we were going to try and redshirt him, but after UPJ, I was disappointed in what I saw and we decided to start using him."

Shepherd overcame a game-high 27 points by West Liberty's Kevin LeMaster and 15 by Wynn for the victory. Crutchfield added 16 points. Mike Johnson scored 12 and Fitzpatrick got the big steal.

"Since it's only my second game, that's pretty much the highlight of my career, so far," Fitzpatrick said. "But we still have more games to win."

The Herald-Mail Articles