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Shepherd men roll to victory

February 17, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - When Keith Davis got his 2003 calendar, he quickly circled two dates.

One red circle went around Jan. 4 and the other was Feb. 15. Those were the days Shepherd College faced Davis & Elkins. They symbolized Davis' red-letter days.

"I've never scored less than double figures any time we've played D&E," Davis said. "Everyone has his day. I guess today was mine."

Maybe it doesn't hurt to be the namesake of the college you're facing. Davis set the tone for Shepherd College with strong, physical starts in each half en route to a 14-point, seven-rebound outing that paved the way to a 80-63 West Virginia Conference win over Davis & Elkins at the Butcher Center.

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Davis found his shooting stroke early in each half in a game that leading scorer Mark Jennings was saddled with foul problems and finished with four points - 14 under his average. After the junior power forward opened the door, center Keith Fanjoy and reserve Phil Stewart helped control the inside game to beat back the Senators.

Davis had 10 points and 14 rebounds on Jan. 4 in Shepherd's 83-77 win at D&E.

"The Oddballs did it today," Davis said. "Three guys who don't normally score like this, did. I believe we are all capable of doing this every game, but you can't have three guys averaging 18 points per game playing ... It's nice to have."

That's one take, but Shepherd coach Ken Tyler saw it as a huge step for the Rams, both offensively and defensively.

"Offensive balance was the key tonight," Tyler said. "This marks the worst game (Jennings) has had for us - he only played 16 minutes and had four points. I feel badly for him, but if you would have told me about this before the game, I would have said we'd be in trouble.

"Keith has been working hard on his offense. He does a lot of the dirty work for us and doesn't have many plays called for him. He hit a couple of shots and we kept going to him. Then we got good games from Fanjoy, Stewart and (Ron) Rheinhart. That was great to see."

Davis scored six of Shepherd's first eight points of the game and then gave way to Fanjoy, who started his run to a game-high 17 points. Stewart came on late in each half for 14 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots to make the whole game worthwhile.

But even with as much good as the trio did with the offense, Shepherd's defense governed the Senators. D&E only shot 34 percent in the second half and hit just 1 of 18 3-pointers.

"We talked about not trading baskets with the other team," Tyler said. "We wanted to make three (defensive) stops in a row and we did that to give ourselves some separation."

After playing to a 35-35 tie with 18:10 remaining in the game, Shepherd established a lead, but could never veto the Senators. The run of stops started with 8:30 remaining as Shepherd used a 15-0 run over 3 1/2 minutes to turn a 57-52 game into a 72-52 laugher.

Dorian Sims scored seven and Fanjoy added four in the decisive flurry.

"This was a good solid team victory," Tyler said. "We keep talking about getting things done. Now we have this four-game homestand and it's time to get it done. Usually the first game of a homestand is the most important and it will get us going for a big game on Monday against (West Virginia) Wesleyan."

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