HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall men's basketball team could be without its top scorer -- and one of the top scorers in the country -- when the Thundering Herd faces West Virginia at the Civic Center this Saturday.
Marshall announced Saturday afternoon that senior forward Elijah Pittman, whose 21.4 points per game leads Conference USA and ranks him 21st in Division I, had been suspended indefinitely. No specific reason for the suspension was announced and the school had no further comment.
Pittman played 22 minutes in Marshall's 90-77 loss last Saturday at Penn State, but spent all but eight minutes in the second half on the bench. He scored 10 points against the Nittany Lions, making four of 13 shots from the floor, but making just one of five 3-pointers and one of six free throws.
The senior's scoring has dipped since an explosive first five games, when he averaged 29.4 points and scored at least 31 in three of those five contests. He was ejected from the Herd's sixth game of the year, against Western Kentucky, just five minutes in after elbowing a WKU player in the throat and getting tagged with a "flagrant 2" foul. In his last four games, he's averaged 11.5 points and shot 34 percent from the field, 24 percent from 3-point range and 35.7 percent from the free throw line.
Pittman, who led Marshall in scoring last season, was the only one of the Herd's (4-5) top eight scorers from 2012-13 to return this year. He scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting last season against WVU. The Herd and Mountaineers meet in Saturday's Capital Classic at 7:30 p.m.
* * *
Freshman point guard Kareem Canty earned his second straight Conference USA freshman of the week award following his performances against Vanderbilt and Penn State.
Canty scored 18 points with four assists and two steals in 37 minutes versus the Commodores on Thursday. He followed that with a career-high 28 points in 39 minutes in Marshall's loss to the Nittany Lions. In those two games, he made eight of 13 shots (61.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Canty said that, while he's proud to win, he doesn't judge is effectiveness as a point guard on individual accomplishments.
"It feels good, especially since I sat out last year," Canty said. "But freshman of the week doesn't mean anything when you keep losing. I can't sleep well knowing we keep losing."
The freshman is averaging 18.3 points and 6.7 assists this season. That assists average is 10th best in Division I.
* * *
Freshman forward Ryan Taylor remains day to day as he recovers from a hamstring injury, Herd Coach Tom Herrion said Monday. An MRI had come back negative for any serious injury.
Taylor, who started the first seven games of the season, has missed the last two. He's tied with guard Chris Thomas for third on the team with 11.4 points per game and leads Marshall with 7.6 rebounds per game.