Marshall routs Rio Grande
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall's Thundering Herd fell short of the Cam Henderson Center men's basketball points mark Tuesday night, but that's about all the team did wrong in a 119-77 defeat of the Rio Grande RedStorm.
Marshall (2-0) didn't overlook its NAIA foe and pulled away from the beginning.
"We were very efficient regardless of the opponent," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. "This group clearly was anxious to play tonight.
"We would have played well against a lot of teams tonight."
The Cam Henderson Center scoring mark of 125 was set against Milligan on Nov. 25, 1995.
Marshall did tie the arena record with 28 assists.
Seven Herd players scored in double figures, topped by senior forward Elijah Pittman's 29. Freshman point guard Kareem Canty followed with 18 points and completed a double-double with 11 assists.
Austin Loop, a redshirt freshman guard from South Webster, Ohio, added to the fun with his first college points. Loop scored 11 while going 3-for-4 on 3-point shots.
Loop come from off the bench to play for seven minutes. One of his baskets was his first college dunk that drew one of the loudest cheers from the crowd of 4,761 spectators.
"It felt good," Loop said. "It was exciting. More than anything, it was good getting the second win."
Marshall mauled Rio Grande (2-1) early with some torrid shooting.
When a time out was called at 11:38 of the first half Marshall had a 29-6 lead and was 12-for-15 shooting for 80 percent. The RedStorm was hitting 7.7 percent on 1-for-13 shooting.
The Herd was ahead, 65-38, at halftime. The margin increased to 119-74, a 47-point difference, with one minute left to play.
Rio Grande suffered a big loss in the opening minute when sophomore guard D.D. Joiner went down on the court and was helped off with an injury to his right leg, that RedStorm head coach Ken French said might be a turf toe.
French said his team didn't play as well as anticipated, and losing its best player didn't help.
""That kind of derailed us," French said. "He's a Division I player."
Marshall shot 62.5 percent from the field, was 9-for-18 on 3-pointers and connected on 20 of 33 free throws for 60.6 percent.
"We've still got to clean up our free throws," Herrion said. "We left too many points at the foul line."
The Herd's scoring balance also included freshman forward Ryan Taylor and sophomore guard Chris Thomas with 15 each while junior forward Shawn Smith and sophomore guard Tamron Manning both netted 11.
Jermaine Warmack scored 17 to lead Rio Grande, Evan Legg had 14, Travis Elliott from Ironton scored 12 and Ricky Tisdale tacked on 11.
Elliott, a 6-foot-2 junior, was matched defensively against the 6-9 Pittman for much of the game.
"He's a tough guy to guard, " Elliott said.
The smaller RedStorm played the Herd close in rebounds with a deficit of nine, but made just 39.7 percent of its shots.
"We're young, very similar to Marshall," said French, a Huntington native. "Give Marshall credit. They were ready to play. A great job by them. If their chemistry holds together they're going to make a great run in Conference USA."
Marshall's depth was depleted by the absence of 7-foot-2 senior center Yous Mbao, who had a night class and his professor wouldn't excuse him for the game, Herrion said. Mbao arrived in time to sit on the bench for about the final five minutes.
The Herd is also missing junior college transfer guard Justin Edmonds who is taking a redshirt year to recover from offseason knee surgery and junior center J.P. Kambola who has an NCAA eligibility issue that the school is working to resolve.
Both teams struggled to adjust to the officiating. A total of 50 fouls were called. Rio Grande had three players foul out. Marshall lost junior forward Cheikh Sane with 2:36 remaining.
Marshall's next game is 2 p.m. Sunday at Morehead State. The Eagles (2-0) won Tuesday at East Tennessee State, 71-63, and have a Friday game at Xavier before hosting Marshall.
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