Marshall taking tough road
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall's Thundering Herd goes this week where no Conference USA men's basketball team has to go this season.
Marshall, 9-9 overall and 2-1 in the conference, sets out Tuesday morning on an extended road trip for games Wednesday at Southern Miss and Saturday at Memphis. No C-USA team other than Marshall plays the top two teams in the standings back-to-back on the road.
Tulsa also plays the top two in consecutive games, but gets Southern Miss at home Jan. 26 before a Feb. 2 game at Memphis.
Southern Miss (15-4, 4-0) and Memphis (14-3, 3-0) are the only unbeaten teams in conference play
Wednesday's 7 p.m. game at Southern Miss is televised on CSS (Ch. 68 on Huntington cable) while Saturday's 2 p.m. game at Memphis is an FSN broadcast (FS Ohio Ch. 31 and Root Sports Ch. 27).
Former Morehead State head coach Donnie Tyndall took over this season at Southern Miss when Larry Eustachy left for Colorado State and the Golden Eagles haven't slipped at all.
The Golden Eagles are 7-0 in Reed Green Coliseum, adding to their string off 22 consecutive home victories -- the fifth-longest active home-court streak behind Syracuse (35), Kansas (32), South Dakota State (25) and Colorado State (24).
"They're playing really, really, really hard," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said.
Southern Miss plays mostly out of an aggressive half-court zone defense and leads C-USA in scoring defense (58.1), field goal percentage defense (38.9), 3-point field goal percentage defense (29.4), rebounding defense (29.1) and steals (12.0).
Only one opponent, SMU, has reached 70 points against the Golden Eagles, and Southern Miss still won, 74-70.
Tyndall has the Golden Eagles playing at a little faster offensive pace than Eustachy did at 73.2 points per game, Herrion said.
Marshall was dominating in its two conference wins at home -- a 28-point defeat of Tulsa and Saturday's 21-point win over East Carolina -- and played pretty well in an 11-point defeat at UTEP except for a stretch of about four minutes at the end of the first half that extended into the second period.
"We have to carry our energy at home with us on the road," Herd forward Rob Goff said.
The Herd journey begins with a Tuesday morning flight from Yeager Airport in Charleston to Gulfport, Miss., and a late afternoon practice at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss., before checking in at a Hattiesburg, Miss., hotel.
Wednesday's game is followed by a Thursday morning bus ride to Memphis and afternoon practice at FedExForum.
After practicing Friday and playing Saturday in Memphis, the team boards a chartered bus home.
Players are missing classes Tuesday through Friday, which Herrion said shouldn't be a major problem because it's only the second week of the semester.
"We're not up to our eyeballs yet," he said.
Senior forward Dennis Tinnon said he has great teachers who he can communicate with through email. Tinnon said he will do that because he wants to graduate in the spring.