Marshall Opens C-USA Championships Tuesday
Men's basketball to begin postseason play vs. Florida Atlantic
March 10, 2014
BOGACZYK: Owls Keep Herd from Back-to-Back Success
Marshall had a miracle finish to beat Florida Atlantic in football this season, but Thundering Herd kicker Justin Haig was nowhere to be found for a big three-point field goal on Saturday afternoon.
EL PASO, Texas - With the regular season having concluded, the Marshall men's basketball team looks to take advantage of its clean slate with the postseason having arrived as the Thundering Herd will take on Florida Atlantic in the opening round of the 2014 Conference USA Championships on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET inside the Don Haskins Center.
HAVE YOU HERD?
In the final home game of his first season with the Herd, freshman point guard Kareem Canty reached a milestone. Canty's late flurry of points weren't quite enough, as Henry and Charlotte held off the Herd, 74-70, in a Conference USA regular-season finale Thursday that marked Senior Night for 7-foot-2 Yous Mbao, the tallest player in Herd hoops history.
Canty's first-season scoring of 509 points is the 39th season of 500 in Herd hoops history, and among freshmen trails only those of Skip Henderson (584 in 1984-85) and DeAndre Kane (513 in 2010-11). Canty also had a game-high seven assists in the Henderson Center finale.
Marshall's last game without a 3-point field goal was played Feb. 27, 1989, a 97-96 Herd win over Appalachian State at the Henderson Center. It was the last regular-season game of 1988-89. The current streak of 3-point games began March 3, 1989, in the Southern Conference Tournament quarterfinals - an 83-69 Herd victory at the Asheville (N.C.) Civic Center.
The Herd's streak of 741 games with a made three-point basket ranks 10th in the country in active streaks.
The Herd's Kareem Canty (Harlem, N.Y.) and Taylor are both in the top 15 of C-USA scorers and are one of two freshman duos ranked in the top 15 in scoring in a league. The other is Kentucky as Julius Randle and James Young rank in the top 15 in Southeastern Conference scoring.
Over the past 15 weeks, Marshall has snagged five C-USA Freshman of the Week honors between a pair of Herd first years. Canty is responsible for three of the awards, with them all having come in consecutive weeks (Dec. 2, 9 and 16), while Taylor has collected the other two (Jan. 6 and 27).
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The Herd is 8-8 this season in the friendly confines of the Cam Henderson Center and 46-19 at home under coach Tom Herrion. With added support from its kelly green-clad fans, Marshall is 358-118 at the Henderson Center over 33 seasons, a .752 winning percentage.
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 349th in the luck category, inversely making them the third unluckiest team in the nation. The Herd has lost five games by one possession this season and an additional two in overtime.
Before the Herd's three-point road win at Charlotte on Feb. 15, Pomeroy had Marshall as the second unluckiest team in Division I.
The young Thundering Herd has struggled in close games this season as Marshall has posted a 4-16 mark in games decided by 10 or fewer points. The Herd is 2-7 in games decided by five or fewer points this season.
Marshall's three-point win at Charlotte on Feb. 15 was the first and only time during the 2013-14 season that Herrion's club has won a game that has been decided by five or fewer points. The Herd's 64-61 comeback win over East Carolina (Mar. 2) was the second win of the year by fewer than five points.
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 5-18 when scoring 79 or less points and 5-3 when scoring above 80. Having a 10-12 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 8-5 when converting more attempts from the charity stripe than opponents and 2-15 when making fewer free throws than the opposition. The Herd is shooting 62.4 percent from the line this season (488-of-782). Marshall's 294 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 16.4, Taylor with 13.1 and Thomas with 12.7.
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 21 of 31 games this season. Unfortunately, it has not always been enough as the Herd is 7-14 this season when three or more of its own score in double figures and 3-7 when two or fewer reach 10 points.
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 5.7 assists per game has the freshman ranked 26th in the country, while he is the third-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 28 of the season's 31 games.
SCOUTING THE OWLS
Having concluded its first season as a C-USA member, Florida Atlantic will look to extend its season against a Marshall program that entered the league in 2005. With identical overall records of 10-21, the Owls collected one more win in league play than the Herd this season.
FAU heads to El Paso having lost six straight and having competed without leading scorer Pablo Bertone (18.9 ppg) due to an injury that the Owl coaching staff decided to let heal before the C-USA Championships. Marquan Botley (10.8 ppg) and Justin Raffington (10.3 ppg) round out the double-figure scorers for the Boca Raton-based program.
The Herd and Owls met for the first time this season and in the history of the two programs on Feb. 1 in Huntington, with FAU having taken the contest, 65-57, behind 20 points from Bertone and a double-double from Raffington (19 points, 10 rebounds).
A Marshall victory would setup a rematch with Conference USA newcomer Old Dominion in the next round of the C-USA Championships on Wednesday, Mar. 12 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.