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Herd not overlooking Savannah State

MU basketball
Dec. 18, 2012 @ 11:58 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall coach Tom Herrion isn't worried about his team overlooking Savannah State on Wednesday night, even though a contest with Kentucky looms over the weekend.

And there's a simple explanation for the reason why.

"We're not playing well enough, period, to look past anybody," Herrion said. "You know what I mean? Even if we were, that's not how we operate. We have great respect for everybody that we play -- every opponent on our schedule."

Marshall senior forward Dennis Tinnon echoed his coach's sentiments and said the Herd can't afford to get into the mentality of showing up and winning.

He also realizes that for some smaller schools, Marshall is the bigger game on the schedule.

"We lost to South Dakota, we lost to Hofstra...," Tinnon said before Tuesday's practice. "They're a low-major so they are going to come in looking to beat us from the get-go. They are looking to have an upset."

Savannah State is not just your average low-major team trying to get a win from a bigger school on Wednesday evening.

The Tigers won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season last year and have already taken on some big names in the early portion of this campaign.

Some of the teams that Savannah State has already played this year include Ohio State, Marquette, Florida and Central Florida, who the Tigers only lost to by three points on the road.

They also lost by three points to Middle Tennessee -- the same team that knocked Marshall from the National Invitational Tournament last postseason.

The key component to Savannah State's game is a smothering defense that has proven to be effective against several teams this year.

The Tigers are allowing just 57.5 points per game this year and have only had opponents eclipse the 60-point mark in three of 11 games.

Opponents are shooting under 39 percent on the season against Savannah State, who loves to send a variety of defensive pressures at the opposition, according to Herrion.

"Defensively, their numbers are really good, so that's obviously something," Herrion said. "We're going to have to be ready for them to come after us."

With DeAndre Kane out due to a broken right hand, the onus falls on guards Tamron Manning and Chris Martin to handle the pressure that Savannah State will undoubtedly throw at them.

It is a task which will be easier said than done following last Saturday's 20-turnover performance in a 72-56 loss to No. 11 Cincinnati.

Herrion said that despite Kane's injury, it's on the team as a whole to pick things up and find a way to get wins.

"It's not going to matter who we dress on Wednesday night or who we play, the next guy has got to be ready," Herrion said. "Collectively, as coaches, players, managers, video people -- we all have to do better."

Following Thursday's contest against the Tigers, Marshall travels to Rupp Arena on Saturday for a 4 p.m. battle with Kentucky.



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