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Newsome drives Rams past Wesleyan

February 20, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College coach Ken Tyler knew he had the makings of a machine with many pistons.

But even the Rams men's basketball team needed a "spark plug" to put it all in motion.

Tyler tossed the keys to the Rams to Kevin Newsome. On Wednesday, the senior point guard not only got Shepherd started, he jammed the gas pedal to the floor.

Newsome turned in his best all-around game of the year, scoring 11 points and dishing nine assists to steal the show in a balanced attack, as the Rams pasted West Virginia Wesleyan 87-73 for a West Virginia Conference victory at the Butcher Center.

"Kevin was outstanding tonight," Tyler said. "He is the spark plug that drives us. He's small in size by he's got a big heart."

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Newsome got the ball in the right places at the right time, even on passes that didn't result in assists. The next pass usually led to the easy score.

"I was just penetrating and my teammates were getting open tonight," Newsome said. "I was able to pass it off to get easy layups. It makes it easy when everyone is getting open and finishing."

Newsome was on the front end of a pair of flurries which ultimately put the Bobcats away - and the Rams (9-15, 6-9) were able to do it for the second straight game despite a below-average scoring night by Mark Jennings.

While Wesleyan (9-12, 8-6) was able to hold Jennings to just five shots, Keith Davis and Ron Rheinhardt picked up the slack.

Davis broke out for the second straight game, this time using his power moves to attack the inside for 13 points. Rheinhardt added 13 points off the bench to become the scoring centerpiece in the middle of the two game-deciding rallies.

"At the beginning of the year, I thought we had six or seven scorers that could assert themselves at any time, and that's before I knew what (Jennings) could do," Tyler said. "I was really happy with the contribution that we got out of Rheinhardt, and Davis has been tough now for two games in a row."

Davis hit the first four points to start a 15-3 run over a 6-minute, 38-second span that turned Shepherd's 19-15 bulge into a 32-18 advantage. Rheinhardt came off the bench for seven points in the stretch.

Newsome launched a 25-foot shot at the buzzer to give Shepherd a 37-27 lead at the half.

Newsome began to take control of the ball in the second half to help the Rams drag the game out of Bobcats' reach in the second half. Shepherd led 58-44 at the 11:18 mark until it started a 14-0 burst to turn it into a 28-point lead. Rheinhardt ignited the run with four straight points.

Shepherd was able to offset a 28-point night by Wesleyan's Richard Lindsey by placing four players in double figures. Dorian Sims added 15 for the Rams.

"This was a very important game for us," Tyler said. "We still have a chance to host a playoff game, but we needed to win three of this four-game homestand. So far, so good."

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