Dec. 5, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.--The Marshall University men’s basketball team travels to defending America East champion Binghamton Monday Dec. 7. Marshall is facing Binghamton for the first time. This is the second time the Thundering Herd is traveling to Binghamton for a men’s basketball game. The Herd went 2-0 at the Binghamton Hoops Fest to begin the 1999-00 season.
Binghamton defeated Bucknell 64-60 Dec. 4 to improve to 3-5 on the season. The Bearcats are rebuilding their program after losing four starters for a variety of reasons in the offseason. Greer Wright, one of the 12 newcomers to the program, is the leading scorer at 12.6 ppg.
Interim head coach Marc Macon is the all-time scoring leader at Temple and the Atlantic 10. A three-time collegiate All-American, Macon scored 2,609 points before being picked eighth overall in the 1991 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. He played six years in the NBA with Denver and Detroit.
Marshall is taking an opponent from the America East Conference for the eighth time. The Thundering Herd is 7-0 against the league including a 84-80 victory over Boston University last season in Boston.
Led by five players in double figures, Marshall defeated Salem (W.Va.) International 119-35 Dec. 3 in the Cam Henderson Center. The Thundering Herd’s 84-point margin of victory broke the school record of 64 which was set ironically enough against Salem during the 1944-45 season (119-54).
That 1944-45 game marked the first time that Marshall scored at least 100 points in a game. Thursday night’s game was the 140th time MU has scored at least 100 points in game. The margin of victory is the 22nd largest in the history of Division I basketball.
MU freshman post player Hassan Whiteside (Gastonia, N.C.) paced the Herd as he went 8-for-11 from the field for a season best 19 points. Whiteside, who entered the game second in Division I in blocked shots, posted three rejections. Whiteside also added four rebounds and a steal. Antonio Haymon (Jr., Washington, D.C.) was 7-of-10 from the floor as he recorded a season best 16 points. The Cecil (Community) College transfer also pulled down a game high eight rebounds.
Sophomore guard Dago Pena, who has been slowed by a concussion during the preseason, moved to the point for the first time in his career and responded with a career high 10 assists. The 6-6 Punta Gorda, Fla. native scored a career high 15 points (7-of-11 shooting) and made a career high five steals. Shaquille Johnson (So., Jacksonville, Fla.) connected on 4-of-5 three-point field goals for 12 points while senior forward Tyler Wilkerson (Lexington, Ky.) scored 10 points and had five rebounds.
The Tigers were issued a technical foul prior to the game for dunking during warm-ups which resulted in a pair of Damier Pitts (So., Charlotte, N.C.) free throws and a 2-0 MU advantage. Marshall scored the first 18 points of the game before Samuel Smith tallied the first Salem basket at the 14:58 mark of the first half. The Thundering Herd led 60-14 at halftime. The 14 points are the third fewest allowed by a Conference USA school in a half in league history (10 is the record set by St. Louis .
MU shot 61.9% from the floor in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 59-21. The 35 points allowed are tied for the fourth fewest by a C-USA school in league history (35-St. Louis vs. Grambling, Dec. 17, 2003). The Salem loss was worst post-war defeat by any of WVIAC school in the NCAA Division II league. The 14 field goals that Marshall allowed are the fourth fewest in a game by a C-USA school in conference history (11 is the record by Southern Miss three times).