Marshall basketball: Herd bounces back big at home
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- After four consecutive losses away from the Cam Henderson Center, the Marshall men's basketball team was looking for an opportunity to bounce back at home.
In its win over Alice Lloyd College on Tuesday night, the Thundering Herd got it.
Five players set career highs in scoring, led by Ryan Taylor's 25 points, and point guard Kareem Canty dished out 14 assists as the Herd snapped its four-game losing streak to beat the Eagles, 121-57.
"The most important thing for me is how mature this group has shown me (it can be)," Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said. "I challenged them on the bus ride back Saturday night from Charleston, that we'd find out a lot about this group, regardless of the opponent, with how we approached this game.
"Boy, for a young, inexperienced club, they showed me they've got some moxie," he added. "They've got a little bit of 'it' because of their preparation and the way they played."
Marshall (5-6) shot 64.7 percent from the floor, 57.7 percent from 3-point range and 81.8 percent from the free throw line in the win. The Herd outscored the Eagles (6-6) 67-27 in the second half.
After playing on the home courts of an SEC team and a Big Ten team, then playing a Big 12 team at a neutral site, the Marshall players said they were itching to return to the Henderson Center and score a victory.
"I think we just all were clicking and all on the same page, mentally and physically," said Taylor, who made 10 of 13 shots and also finished with eight rebounds. "We beat ourselves against West Virginia and everybody on the team truly thinks that. We were all focused tonight and all wanted to get a win back tonight. Whoever was in our way was going to pay."
The Eagles, an NAIA school from Pippa Passes, Ky., stayed relatively close longer than some anticipated. Stuart Stamper's jumper with 17:13 left in the half cut Marshall's lead to 7-6. After that though, the Herd pulled away.
What was a 19-14 Herd lead with 13:04 left after Cody Stumbo's 3-pointer became a 40-16 lead with 7:09 left. The Herd outscored Alice Lloyd 24-8 in the paint in the first half. Thomas was perfect from the floor in the first 20 minutes - 5-for-5 overall and 2-for-2 from 3-point range - and Canty had 10 assists against just two turnovers by halftime.
Center Yous Mbao dunked on the fast break - just the fourth field goal of his career - to punctuate Marshall's first half. The Herd went into halftime up 54-30.
On top of Taylor's 25 points, Shawn Smith (18 points), walk-on Austin Loop (17 points), DeVince Boykins (eight points) and walk-on Kevin McNair (four points) all had career bests in scoring. Chris Thomas added 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Smith recorded a double-double, adding 12 rebounds. Yous Mbao tied a career high with four points, set a career high with 14 rebounds and blocked two shots.
Canty scored 11 points, but his 14 assists pulled him into a tie with Mike D'Antoni for the eighth-best single-game total in Herd history. D'Antoni delivered his 14 against Central Michigan on Jan. 13, 1973.
"They took a big step," Herrion said of his players. "I know a lot of people will laugh at me if they hear me say that, or you write it or if they hear it on the TV, because it's Alice Lloyd and all that. But from my position, to watch this team go dominate whoever we played - and a lot of them in their 10th or 11th game in college basketball, in a break, coming out of exams, the downer of the West Virginia game. I knew Sunday afternoon ... they were a resilient group."
Marshall played Tuesday's game without junior forward Cheikh Sane. Herrion said after the game he wasn't sure how long Sane's foot injury would keep him sidelined.
Tyler Rogers was the only double-figure scorer for Alice Lloyd, scoring 13. The Herd returns to the Henderson Center on Saturday to face Arkansas State at 7 p.m.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.