HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The road gets no smoother for the Marshall men's basketball team.
Following the Thundering Herd's 88-78 loss at East Tennessee State last Saturday, the team heads out of Huntington again to visit Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. tonight at Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tenn. That continues a four-game streak of contests away from the Cam Henderson Center -- a Dec. 7 game at Penn State and the annual Capital Classic at the Civic Center on Dec. 14 follow.
The task for the Herd (4-3) is to play significantly better on the road, where Marshall has suffered two of its three losses. What bothered Marshall Coach Tom Herrion after the ETSU game was that his team didn't build off of a solid comeback win at home versus Western Kentucky.
"I don't think we got better between Western Kentucky and East Tennessee State," Herrion said. "That's what probably disappoints me the most."
Sophomore guard Tamron Manning said Herrion wasn't the only one frustrated by the step back the team took versus the Buccaneers.
"After Western Kentucky, we felt that was the turn in the right direction," he said. "And then, to go and lose at East Tennessee State, that was a big disappointment. But I think if we bounce back with these next couple of games, it'll be a great way to bounce back."
Herrion feels that rebound will come if the Herd rededicates itself to strong defense. ETSU made 30 of 56 shots (53.6 percent) against Marshall's defense and the Herd never led after the 14:07 mark of the first half, though it was able to cut a 16-point lead to two in the second half.
While Marshall's offense played its part in those struggles - the Herd shot 30 3-pointers and made six while making just 18 of 35 free throws - Herrion said defense needs to be the team's focus. He's said through the start of this season that Marshall forcing turnovers will allow its athletic roster to dominate in the open court.