HUNTINGTON — The reaction of Marshall’s players said it all during Tuesday night’s 76-66 loss to College of Charleston at Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall sophomore Taevion Kinsey stared straight forward, almost looking through the cameras as he replayed the game in his head.
Thundering Herd junior Jannson Williams looked at the stat sheet and sighed before he set it down and started to speak.
“We’ve still got to find ourselves in our offense,” Williams said. “We’ve got to do better at the free throw line. Tonight was not fun. It wasn’t good. It was a bad showing.”
Marshall’s shooting woes from the outside (5-of-19) continued Tuesday night and those struggles leaked into the free throw line (15-of-28) as the Herd faltered down the stretch in another loss.
“We’re not at the level right now to beat teams who are at championship level now,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “I did see a few bright spots.”
It was Marshall’s third-straight loss – a feeling that even the veterans have not experienced during their tenure with the team.
“It’s all about overcoming individually and as a team,” Williams said.
While the Herd struggled, they also ran into a College of Charleston team that got stronger as the game went on.
Early on, it was the play of Grant Riller that keyed the team, but the Cougars got more balanced as things progressed.
One key for College of Charleston (3-1) was the bench production of post player Sam Miller, who complimented Riller’s 22 points with 13 points and eight rebounds, including a 6-of-7 shooting performance.
Miller’s jumper with 2:46 left capped an 8-2 run that pushed the Cougars’ advantage to double-digits and essentially ended any chance of a Marshall comeback.
Early in the second half, the teams battled back-and-forth, jockeying for position until a 9-0 run over a two-minute stretch pushed College of Charleston to a 56-49 lead.
Marshall got back within three, but the Herd went through a nine-minute stretch in which the team had just three field goals – all by Kinsey, who led the Herd with 13 points – as the Cougars took control.
It was the final of a series of stretches in which the Herd went without a field goal to hinder its ability to get off the slide.
“We don’t know where and I don’t know where to go really toward the end to get sure shots…,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll get there. We’ll find that way. We just haven’t had enough games under our belt to do that yet.”
The first of those stretches came at the end of the first half when Marshall went the final 6:22 of the first half without a field goal, which spoiled a chance to distance itself after Riller picked up his second foul on a charge into Kinsey.
At the time of the charge, Riller had the Cougars’ last 13 points, including nine over 1:07 in which he had three steals during a 10-0 run that gave College of Charleston a 22-19 lead.
Prior to that, Williams had sparked Marshall’s early 19-12 advantage, using defense to translate to offense. He had five points during a 10-2 run, including one transition basket in which he got a block before running the floor and getting a layup while going to the floor to get the crowd into it early.
Williams finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and six blocks.
The Herd had four double-figure scorers, including Jarrod West with 12 and Mikel Beyers with 11 off an 8-of-8 free throw shooting performance.
While Beyers was perfect at the line, the rest of the team was 7-of-20 around him.
Following the game, D’Antoni said the key for his team moving forward is to stay together and keep plugging along toward its goals.
Marshall returns to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s 8 p.m. contest against Howard at Cam Henderson Center.