GAME NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd will play their final road game of the season on Thursday as they visit the Constant Convocation Center for a Conference USA bout against the Old Dominion Monarchs.
Coach Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd lost their second game in a row and fifth in six games on Saturday when they fell, 56-53, to Middle Tennessee at home. The setback dropped Marshall to a 9-19 overall standing, including a 3-10 C- USA ledger. The Thundering Herd have been torched by the opposition throughout the season, allowing 69.8 ppg to rank 10th in the C-USA in scoring defense. They stepped up their play on the defensive end their last time out as the Blue Raiders were held to 42.9 percent efficiency from the floor and forced 18 turnovers. Although Marshall is 7-7 at the Cam Henderson Center, it is just 2-12 away from home.
Old Dominion has alternated wins with losses over its last six games. The Monarchs were defeated, 71-66, by Louisiana Tech over the weekend and dropped to a 13-15 overall record in the process. Coach Jeff Jones's team is one of just seven C-USA schools with a winning league record. ODU's strength this season has come on the defensive end of the floor, as it allows opponents to shoot just 42.1 percent from the field for 63.7 ppg. Unfortunately the team's offense could use some polishing, as it makes less than 41 percent from the field for a mere 60.8 ppg.
This will be the ninth meeting in history between Marshall and ODU. The series is tied at four wins apiece after the Monarchs 70-62 win over the Herd in the 2008-09 season.
Despite Marshall's near upset of the C-USA-leading Blue Raiders, junior guard Chris Thomas finished with just two points and four turnovers in 17 minutes of action. Thomas has been on fire heading into the contest, netting 20.3 ppg over a three-game span. has received exceptional play out of its starting backcourt in recent weeks. The rookie tandem of Ryan Taylor and Kareem Canty continued to impress. Taylor contributed 16 points and seven rebounds, while Canty had 13 points and five assists. In 20 of the team's 28 games this season, three or more members of the Herd have scored in double figures. Canty is usually included in that trio as he has been spectacular during his freshman campaign with team-leading averages of 16.1 ppg and 5.8 apg. Taylor (13.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Thomas (12.3 ppg) have both established themselves as key players for Herrion in their debut year also.
ODU limited LA Tech to a 35.2 percent clip from the field, including just five makes on 23 attempts from beyond the arc. The Monarchs came up short after they were outscored, 28-12, at the free-throw line and finished with 14 turnovers against 11 assists. Sophomore guard Aaron Bacote scored 25 points and handed out five assists in the loss. Junior guard Dimitri Batten chipped in 17 points and six rebounds, while Ambrose Mosley came off the bench to net 11 points. Bacote is the go-to-guy for the Monarchs with a 16.2 ppg on just under 40 percent shooting from the floor. Bacote's 82 total assists is the most on the squad this season, along with his 88 turnovers. Batten is second in scoring at 10.8 ppg, and Keenan Palmore is third with 10.5 ppg. Richard Ross is the team leader with a 7.3 rpg average.
Although Marshall gave a spirited effort versus MTSU, it has been awful outside of West Virginia this season. ODU's ability to stifle the opposition should be enough as the Herd tend to exhibit poor shot selection and careless ball control.
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