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Chuck Landon: UC loss sheds light on MU season

Dec. 15, 2012 @ 11:25 PM

CHARLESTON -- What did we learn from Game No. 1 of the DeAndre Kane injury hiatus?

Five things.

No. 1: True freshman Tamron Manning has to be the point guard.

No. 2: Kane does indeed have a broken bone in his right hand.

No. 3: The offense has to be more diversified.

No. 4: Kane insists he will return sooner than most people expect.

No. 5: Having more turnovers than field goals is not a recipe for success.

All these revelations and more came from Marshall's 72-56 loss to 11th-ranked Cincinnati Saturday afternoon before 5,432 fans here at the Charleston Civic Center.

First, Manning.

Sophomore Chris Martin actually got the starting assignment at point guard in place of Kane and that move blew up in Marshall's face. The Herd committed turnovers on nine of its first 14 possessions.

Why, it got so bad even a Marshall cheerleader was credited with a turnover when a fan tried to throw the ball back to a referee and bounced the pass off her head.

It was that kind of day.

But young Master Manning -- he's still only 18 years old -- did bring some stability to the point guard position. That's why he played 30 minutes against Cincinnati's tenacious, full-court, pressure defense.

"At first, I had a little bit of butterflies," admitted Manning. "But as the game got going and I scored my first bucket, then I realized it's just basketball and I started playing after that."

The problem is Marshall never recovered from its terrible start.

"We played so rattled early," said Herrion. "We were inept offensively. We had no flow at all."

That didn't happen until Manning took over at point guard.

"He's getting his feet wet," said Herrion. "But he has to get better. And he will. He wants to be a better player."

Now, for Kane.

Pointing to a spot below the little and ring fingers on his left hand, Kane showed where he broke a bone in his right hand.

He also was adamant about returning as soon as possible.

"I'm not going to be out any six weeks," Kane insisted. "I'll be back sooner than that."

That would be very good news because Kane was sorely missed Saturday.

It showed in the diversity of Marshall's offense, as in lack thereof. Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver scored 20 points each, but the other seven Marshall players combined for only 16 points.

Why, Scarver took 16 shots while those other seven players totaled only 18 field goal attempts.

"We need our older guys to step up," said Herrion. "I didn't think we got that today."

He's right.

Seniors Dennis Tinnon and Nigel Spikes combined for 0-for-9 shooting from the field and 3-for-10 from the foul line for a total of only three points.

That's simply not acceptable.

Then, there were the turnovers. They occurred in any and every way possible with Pittman committing No. 20 with only 24 seconds remaining by stepping out of bounds.

"Twenty turnovers is going to cause a problem any night," said Herrion. "You can dissect 20 anyway you want to. It's a bad, bad number leading to failure."

Especially if the same team makes only 17 field goals.

It was that kind of game for Marshall. There were too many turnovers, not enough field goals, too little diversity on offense and not enough rebounds or defense.

A speedy recovery by Kane could fix a lot of that.

But until then?

A kid named Manning has to step up.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827, or email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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