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MU basketball a work in progress

Nov. 16, 2012 @ 12:11 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University men's basketball head coach Tom Herrion spoke this week about all of the Thundering Herd's moving parts.

Among them are freshman Kareem Canty, a possible starting point guard, who was ruled academically ineligible Thursday by the NCAA.

Senior forward Dennis Tinnon is adapting to playing farther from the basket.

Junior college transfers D.D. Scarver and Elijah Pittman have played against one NCAA Division I opponent.

Redshirt freshman guard DeVince Boykins has been sidelined because of a knee injury and only returned to practice Wednesday.

Sophomore guard Kelvin Amayo, an academic non-qualifier, won't be eligible until after first semester grades are posted.

"We're going to be a work in progress," Herrion said. "We've got to figure out what our units are."

Marshall (1-1) takes another step at 4:30 p.m., Friday, against NCAA Division II District of Columbia (1-1) in the 2K Sports Classic at the Mack Sports Complex, a 5,023-seat arena on the Hofstra University campus in Hempstead, N.Y. Marshall also plays South Dakota State (1-1) at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, and Hostra at 3 p.m., Sunday.

Three games in three days will put Marshall with five games played just 10 days into the season, including four away from home.

"Players like to play," Herrion said. "Our kids will be excited about that format."

Marshall opened with a victory over NCAA Division II Longwood at home (81-47) and lost its second game at Big East Conference foe Villanova on Sunday, 80-68.

Villanova led Marshall by only 70-68 with 4:01 left to play, and the Herd missed its final six shots.The Wildcats made seven of eight free throw attempts in the final 2:38.

Herrion said the Herd didn't play well in any area.

"There were so many ingredients that led to our demise," Herrion said. "I didn't think we played really well in any area.

". ... Now you've got ammunition and an opportunity to show your guys."

District of Columbia, coached by former NBA player Jeff Ruland, made the NCAA Division II tournament last season out of the East Coast Conference.

Herrion said the Firebirds are a perimeter-oriented team that plays fast and shoots 3-pointers.

Junior college transfer Quasim Jones, a 6-foot-1 guard, is averaging 16.0 points per game. Boston University transfer Michael Terry (6-foot junior) averages 14.0 and 6-6 junior Ziad Ashmawy adds 11.0. Ralph Watts, a 6-5 junior transfer from Albany, scores nine points a game while 6-5 junior Niagara transfer Austin Cooley scores five a game.

Dyrek Jones, a 6-8 senior, gets 6.5 rebounds a game. Jones was the 2012 ECC Defensive Player of the Year.

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