Men's Basketball to Face Another C-USA Newcomer
Herd to play travel-partner Charlotte on the road
Feb. 14, 2014
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Having had a chance to rest up with six-days between contests, the Marshall men’s basketball team will look to come out of the break strong when it takes on its travel partner and Conference USA newcomer, Charlotte, on Saturday at 7 p.m. inside Halton Arena.
HAVE YOU HERD?
For the second time in three days, a three-point basket with seconds remaining proved fatal for the Thundering Herd, this time against Tulane, 68-65, on Sunday afternoon at Devlin Fieldhouse.
With the shot clock off and Tulane with possession, 24.5 seconds remained in regulation. Junior guard Jay Hook took and made a long three from the top of the key with 1.4 seconds to play and the Green Wave on top 68-65.
With DeVince Boykins (Forest City, N.C.) inbounding, Shawn Smith (Sacramento, Calif.) caught the ball just past midcourt and his shot for the tie was no good, allowing Tulane to hold on for a last-second win.
Chris Thomas (Denver) finished as the game’s leading scorer with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Kareem Canty (Harlem, N.Y.) followed with 16 and Cheikh Sane (Dakar, Senegal) with 11, setting a career high for the big man. As a team, the Herd shot 44.4 percent from the field (20-of-45) to 45.8 percent (22-of-48) from Tulane.
SHAKING IT UP
Bucking what had become a trend in the previous seven games, Marshall coach Tom Herrion started the same five in consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 11 and 16. The lineup was the same as Friday against Southern Miss, which included Smith, Canty, Thomas, Sane and Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis).
Over the past 11 weeks, Marshall has snagged five C-USA Freshman of the Week honors between a pair of Herd first years. Taylor is the most recent as his 17.5 ppg and 9.5 rpg showing a week ago earned him the award, Jan. 27. After having earned it on Jan. 6 as well, at the time he had now won the award in two of the last four weeks.
Canty is responsible for three of the awards, with them all having come in consecutive weeks (Dec. 2, 9 and 16). Only one other player in the league has received the honor on three occasions this season, Jonathan Stark of Tulane.
The Young Thundering Herd has struggled in close games this season as Marshall has posted a 2-12 mark in games decided by 10 points or less. The Herd is 0-5 in games decided by five points or less this season, with two of those games having come on the most recent road trip (Southern Miss, Feb. 7 and Tulane, Feb. 9).
NOT SO FORTUNATE
College basketball insider Ken Pomeroy has a ranking called "luck" that essentially takes into account statistics and compares that to a team’s record and losing a lot of close games will affect a team’s ranking in this category. Out of 351 NCAA Division I men’s teams, Pomeroy ranks Marshall 350th in the luck category, inversely making them the second unluckiest team in the nation.
The Herd has lost five games by one possession this season and an additional two in overtime.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS
Marshall has yet to win a game this season in which it failed to reach the 70-point plateau. The Herd is 3-14 when scoring 79 or less points and 5-3 when scoring above 80. Having an 8-8 record when keeping opponents below 79 points of offense, Marshall is 0-9 when allowing the opposition to score more than 80 points.
ON THE LINE
Free throws have been a point of emphasis for the Herd this season as Marshall is 6-3 when converting more attempts from the charity stripe than opponents and 2-13 when making fewer free throws than the opposition. The Herd is shooting 62.2 percent from the line this season (417-of-670). Marshall’s 253 missed free throw attempts rank first in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
With numerous scoring threats in the Marshall lineup, four members of the Herd are averaging double figures in scoring, three of which have become a mainstay in the Herd’s starting lineup: Canty with 16.0, Taylor with 13.7 and Thomas with 12.1. Smith is knocking on the double-digit doorstep as he is averaging 8.3 points with his increasing role as a starter.
The Herd has received scoring help from more than its top four scorers as Marshall has had three or more of its own score in double figures in 19 of 25 games this season. Unfortunately, it has not always been enough as the Herd is 6-13 this season when three or more of its own score in double figures and 2-4 when two or less reach 10 points.
The Herd is currently 1-12 away from home this season and is 3-26 away from Huntington since the start of the 2012-13 season.
A HELPING HAND
The benefit of having a true point guard has helped the Herd greatly this year and Canty has been the primary reason for that. An average of 6.1 assists per game has the freshman ranking 10th in the country, while he is the second-best assist man in C-USA. Canty has recorded four double-doubles on the season, all coming from a combination of points and assists.
Canty has led or tied for the lead in assists for the Herd in 23 of the season’s 25 games.
SCOUTING THE 49ers
Having started the season with a 6-1 record, including a Puerto Rico Tip-Off Championship that required defeating then-No. 13 Michigan, Charlotte has cooled off and has won just two of its last six games. The 49ers are in their first year as C-USA members, coming from the Atlantic 10 Conference, and are pegged by the league as the Herd’s “rival” team, meaning they play a home-and-home series.
Charlotte’s scoring is made up primarily of a quartet of double-figure scorers, led by sophomore guard Shawn Lester who is averaging 13.1 points per game, only having made one start in 23 games this season. Charleston, W.Va. product Pierriá Henry ranks second on the squad in scoring with 12.2 ppg in 20 starts. The South Charleston High School graduate leads Charlotte in assists with 5.8 per game.
The two sides will meet for the first time on Saturday night. The Herd and 49ers will face off one more time before the regular season concludes, Mar. 6 in Huntington.
The Herd will return home to the Cam Henderson Center to take on UAB, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.