HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall Coach Tom Herrion knew the stories would be published before the first word was written.
"Clearly, you're going to write about it and the fans are going to know it," he said after the Thundering Herd's 61-58 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington. "We know we're not playing very well on offense right now. I admit that."
The Herd's numbers bear that out. In games against Morehead State and UNCW, the team shot 33.3 percent and 36.4 percent, respectively. The Herd has made just seven of its last 34 3-pointers.
Those stats have led to tiny margins of victory. MU won both games by three points.
But, as Herrion and the Herd (5-3) point out, they're still winning. And that's still momentum the team can take into a fierce rivalry game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against West Virginia in the Capital Classic.
"The game wasn't cute," junior guard DeAndre Kane said, "but we came out with the victory and we move on. We get ready for WVU."
In the game's opening minutes Saturday night against UNCW, it looked like Marshall's offensive woes would be sequestered to last Wednesday's game against Morehead State.
The Herd hit seven of its first eight shots against the Seahawks, including a pair of 3-pointers from D.D. Scarver. Marshall made four of its first five from beyond the arc.
Yet when Marshall emerged from a time out with 11:34 left in the first half, the temperature in the Herd's shooting hands plummeted. The team would make just one of its last 12 3-pointers. It would hit just 13 of its final 47 shots. And while the Herd would pull down 18 offensive rebounds, it would score only 14 second-chance points.
Put together, that was the formula that allowed the Seahawks (3-4) to stay close and hold leads at various points during the game.
"I've got to do a better job of getting our guys in better positions offensively," Herrion said. "But in the same breath we had some guys make some big plays."
One of those guys was Kane. The junior continues to struggle from the floor. He followed his 3-for-14 game against Nevada and his 5-for-20 effort against Morehead State with a 5-for-18 performance versus the Seahawks. But he hit two free throws with 21.1 seconds left to give Marshall a 59-58 lead and poked the ball away from UNCW guard Craig Ponder, a former Bluefield High star, with time running down. Scarver grabbed the ball and, though he was 4-for-11 from the field against the Seahawks, he hit the last two game-sealing free throws.
"Coach said all games aren't going to be pretty," Kane said. "It was an ugly game. We're still not there offensively. Everything is not together. We're not firing on all cylinders yet, but we'll get it together."