HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The last time the game clock reached zeroes for the Marshall, it was smarting after an 82-54 loss Dec. 22 at Kentucky.
That's a long time to let memories of such a defeat linger.
Marshall Coach Tom Herrion has been doing his best to work those memories out of everyone's system since they've reconvened after the Christmas break. Since players returned last Thursday, Herrion figures to have 11 practices under the Thundering Herd's belt before it hosts Delaware State tonight at 7.
As rough as that loss was, Herrion said the team has responded well in preparing for the season's second act.
"I think our attitude has been phenomenal," Herrion said. "I'd like to think we've tightened up our offense and found an even more consistent and renewed desire to become a better defense. Our offensive execution has been our biggest focus on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively, it's just consistency and rebounding."
Both those problems were on display against Kentucky. The Herd (7-6) shot just 29.5 percent from the floor and 26.7 percent from 3-point range against the Wildcats, who blocked seven Marshall shots. UK also scored 52 points in the paint, shot 50 percent in the second half when it realized how well it would fare in the post, and outrebounded Marshall 48-43. The Herd averages plus-4.2 in rebounding margin this season.
That led several players to say postgame that the Christmas break shouldn't be much of a break, that players individually should spend time in the gym between opening presents and family dinners. Senior forward Dennis Tinnon agreed that the attitude the Herd has shown since practice resumed should help down the stretch.
"You have to go out there and always go out there with a positive attitude," he said. "You can never let negativity come through. Like they say, there's always someone watching.