HUNTINGTON — Marshall pulled away from Jackson State over the final 10 minutes and won big, 80-66, on Sunday at Cam Henderson Center.
Chase Freeman made two free throws to pull the Tigers to within 57-55 with 10:36 left. From that point, it was all Marshall, which went on a 16-2 run and caused the visitors to miss 11 of its next 12 shots.
Taevion Kinsey triggered the Herd attack with 24 points. Darius George added 18. Then there was Obinna Anochili-Killen and Andy Taylor who flirted with triple-doubles to get the crowd of 3,839 excited. Anochili-Killen finished with 15 points, a career-best 10 blocked shots and grabbed nine rebounds. Taylor, the point guard, totaled 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
“Not one game, not a miracle,” Herd coach Dan D’Antoni said of Anochili-Killen, a 6-foot-8 sophomore. “He’s a gym rat. He’s growing every day. He left a lot of stuff out there. You’ll see him get better and better.
“Our offense requires a lot of reads. It’s difficult for a freshman. He can see a lot more now. He’s more comfortable where he’s supposed to be, what he’s supposed to do. He covered the inside.”
Marshall finished with a 40-20 edge in points in the paint and racked up 14 blocked shots.
Taylor’s point total might not be where he wants it, but he comes through in so many other ways as he directs the Marshall attack.
“He’s doing what he does,” D’Antoni said. “Point guard, he has the flow of everything. Two off a triple double. Can he make more shots? Yeah as he gets more comfortable.”
“He’s producing in other ways,” Kinsey said of Taylor. “Obinna gives us great minutes. He’s got great energy. He defends our paint. For me quit overthinking. A great bounce back game for all of us.”
Marshall made 30-of-64 shots, but just 4-of-17 from three coming off a 3-of-24 effort in the loss to Campbell.
“Don’t know,” D’Antoni said about one of the usual strong parts of Marshall play.
Gabe Watson led Jackson State (0-4) with 18 points and Jayveous McKinnis added 10 and 12 rebounds for a double-double. The Tigers compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Anochili-Killen said extra work and time in the weight room has made a difference.
“Just try to play hard, produce,” he said. “Try to get rebounds and block shots, things I do best. I’ve gotten stronger, more explosive thanks to the weight room.”
Marshall’s back in action Tuesday at home against Louisiana. Tipoff is 7 p.m.
As for Kinsey and George, D’Antoni said it was business as usual.
“Very aggressive, keep aggressive going to the hoop. Do that every game,” D’Antoni said of Kinsey. “Darius gives you a lot of hustle points. I feel a lot better about our rotations.”
D’Antoni said he Herd’s defense did improve over the final 10 minutes.
“Can’t sit down in front of guys,” D’Antoni said. “Don’t just let them pull the trigger. Got to make offensive players feel you. Kind of what you saw late.”
Marshall is now 3-0 all-time against Jackson State