WISE - UVa-Wise was edged by Shepherd on a late bucket by the Rams to earn an 80-79 victory inside the Prior Center Saturday afternoon.
Junior guard Michal Seals led the Cavs with 23 points and added nine rebounds and nine assists while going 8-for-8 from the foul line. Sophomore forward Jordan Pointer posted 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and added six boards. Freshman Cameron Whiteside and redshirt freshman Briggs Parris each scored in double-figures with Whiteside logging 13 points while Parris finished with 10 points in the loss.
UVa-Wise (5-8, 3-5 MEC) fell behind early to Shepherd (9-5, 5-3 MEC) to start but would tie the game 14-14 at the 11:42 mark on a basket by Pointer. Whiteside would sink a three to extend the Cavs lead to 21-16 with a little over nine minutes on the clock.
Sheffey would drain another shot from downtown as UVa-Wise gained its largest lead yet, 26-19, with under seven minutes to go.
Shepherd's Thomas Lang would quickly bring the Rams from behind as back-to-back threes put Shepherd down just five, 30-25, with 3:26 left in the opening half.
The Rams' Lang would tie the game with just over a minute left before a layup by freshman forward Josh Thomas gave the advantage back to UVa-Wise, 34-32.
A late foul would put Shepherd's Maliq Sanders at the line to tie the game at 34 apiece heading into halftime.
The Cavs shot 42.9 percent (15-for-35) from the floor while the Rams were 31.3 percent (10-for-32) from the floor in the first half. UVa-Wise connected on just two shots from downtown and were 2-of-3 (66.7 percent) from the foul line.
Shepherd won the rebounding battle in the opening half 23-20 while UVa-Wise posted 22 points down low to eight points in the paint for the Rams.
UVa-Wise opened the second half scoring a quick four points to take a 38-34 lead less than a minute into the half.
Shepherd would knock down back-to-back buckets to regain the lead with 17:22 on the clock, 44-40. Another three by Lang would push the Cavs ahead 54-48 with 12:28 to go in the half.
A 6-0 run by the Cavs would tie the game for the fifth time at 54-54 on a layup by Seals. Shepherd would take back the lead later in the half but a pair of baskets by Pointer would cut the margin to one point before a late three by Seals knotted the game at 67-67.
The two teams would trade buckets before junior guard Chance Sheffey connected on the go-ahead three ball to put the Cavs up 76-73 with under three minutes to play.
The Rams' Lang would hit a late shot to put Shepherd down by two but a foul by the Rams would put Seals at the line as he connected on both shots to regain a four-point lead, 79-75, with a little over a minute left.
Another three ball by Lang with less than a minute to go would cut the Cavs lead to one point. UVa-Wise would try to score with thirty seconds left but a rebound by the Rams would put the ball in Lang's hands once again as he hit the game-winning bucket to give Shepherd an 80-79 win.
Only two players scored in double-figures for Shepherd with Lang notching 36 points as he connected on nine shots from downtown and Derek McKnight who had 17 points for the Rams.
The Cavs struggled from beyond the arc the entire game, shooting just 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from downtown in the second half and 16.7 percent (4-for-24) in the game. UVa-Wise shot 43.6 percent (17-for-39) from the field in the second half while the Rams went 15-for-26 from the floor to close out the game.
From the field, UVa-Wise shot 32-for-74 (43.2 percent) on the night while Shepherd was 25-of-58 (43.1 percent) from the floor. The Cavs dominated in the paint registering 46 points to Shepherd's 24 and added 24 points from the bench to the Rams 12 bench points.
Blake Mellinger's team will now head to West Liberty as they take on the nationally-ranked Hilltoppers Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.