HUNTINGTON — If previous history is any indication, Marshall’s 2 p.m. Sunday contest against Toledo will take all 40 minutes to decide.
Heck, it may take even more than that, actually.
Each of Toledo’s last two trips to Huntington have resulted in overtime — one being a 75-74 win for the Rockets last season, the other being a wild 111-105 win for the Thundering Herd in the 2016-17 season.
With that type of history, the Herd knows it will have to limit lapses to earn a victory over the talented Rockets.
“I’m looking forward to the next game and I’m going to look forward to every game this team plays,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “They’re a great group of young men and they’re fun to coach.”
D’Antoni saw his team’s toughness in a 40-minute fight already in the season-opener when the Herd clamped down defensively on Thursday to top Robert Morris, 67-60.
That toughness — especially on the defensive end — will be needed against a Toledo team that features one of the nation’s top mid-major players in Marreon Jackson. Prior to the season, Jackson was named to the Lou Henson Award Watch List, given to the nation’s top mid-major player. He followed that up with a 27-point, seven-assist effort in Toledo’s 79-77 loss at Valparaiso.
While the Toledo offense runs through Jackson, the frontcourt also provides a big emphasis for the Rockets with 6-11 center Luke Knapke and 6-6 forward Willie Jackson both serving as complementary pieces to the junior leader at guard.
Against Valparaiso, Knapke finished with 12 points while Jackson had eight points and 12 rebounds.
The Herd will counter with its post presence of Iran Bennett and Goran Miladinovic down low while also using the length of players such as Mikel Beyers and Jannson Williams to disrupt passing lanes.
Marshall point guard Jarrod West led the Herd with 20 points against Robert Morris.