HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall and Western Kentucky men's basketball teams are on opposite sides of the scoring spectrum in this young season. The Thundering Herd can put points on the board. The Hilltoppers haven't.
But Herd Coach Tom Herrion cautioned that those low-shooting numbers aren't indicative of the challenge WKU will pose when Marshall hosts the team at 7 tonight at the Cam Henderson Center.
The Hilltoppers rank 331st in Division I averaging 61.5 points per game. They rank 327th in Division I in shooting 38.4 percent from the floor. Despite that, WKU is 3-1 on the year, with its lone loss coming at now-12th-ranked Wichita State.
There's more to Western Kentucky than just scoring, Herrion said.
"They're just sound, really sound defensively," Herrion said. "They're a plus-rebounding team. They have a dominant inside player and a prolific scorer on the perimeter."
That inside player is junior forward George Fant, a 6-foot-6, 245-pounder that averages 13 points and 6.8 rebounds and who Herrion said is the best post player Marshall (3-2) has faced so far this season. The perimeter scorer is 6-4 junior guard T.J. Price, averaging 18 points per game. The Hilltoppers outrebound the opposition by an average of 3.2 per game and hold opponents to 59.5 points per game.
The Hilltoppers were picked to win the Sun Belt Conference in their final season there. They join the Herd in Conference USA starting next season. WKU has won the last two Sun Belt Tournament crowns and the NCAA Tournament berths that come with them.
"It's a great challenge," Herrion said. "It's a terrific non-conference game. They're very well coached and have excellent personnel. I hope people understand how good of a non-conference game this is."