HUNTINGTON - The Marshall men's basketball team figured junior college transfers Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver would be important additions to the roster this season.
"We recruited them to be guys we thought could play and help us right away," Thundering Herd Coach Tom Herrion said.
It didn't know just how important.
With injuries and ineligibility taking a toll this year, the Thundering Herd have relied on the two to fill more needs than thought. Their importance was evident from the season opener, as Pittman and Scarver have been fixtures in the starting lineup. Scarver has started all 13 games, while Pittman has started 11 of 13.
One thing both know, Herrion said, is how to put points on the board.
"Clearly, they've both been able to exhibit that they're natural scorers," he said. "They can put the ball in the basket. D.D.'s obviously more of a pure shooter. Elijah scores in a lot of different ways for us. We knew that when we recruited them, but they've done a very good job in that area."
That scoring ability helped when Herrion needed to juggle the lineup. Freshman Kareem Canty could have been the starting point guard, or at least would have played a large chunk of minutes, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible for the season. But having Scarver made Marshall more comfortable in moving DeAndre Kane from shooting guard to point guard, and Kane responded with 8.5 assists per game.
And when Kane was lost indefinitely before the Cincinnati game with a broken right hand, the two became Marshall's primary scorers. Scarver is tied with Kane for the team's best scoring a average (15.0) and leads Marshall in total points (195), while Pittman is second in total points (192) and scoring average (14.8). In eight of 13 games this season, either Pittman or Scarver has led the Herd alone in scoring or tied with someone as the game's top scorer.
Scarver, a 6-foot-4 Alabama native who transferred from Trinity Valley Community College in Texas, is more of a pure shooter. He leads Marshall with 35 3-pointers and hits 81.8 percent of his free throws, a luxury for a team that shoots a Conference USA-worst 58.8 percent from the line.