HUNTINGTON — Through the five-game losing streak for the Marshall men’s basketball team, offense — or lack of it — has been the Thundering Herd’s main problem.
That hasn’t been the case for Marshall forward Obinna Anochili-Killen, however, as he’s seen his offensive numbers continue to climb.
Killen has been the Herd’s most consistent scorer during the past few weeks, adding a long-range presence that was not initially known coming into the season.
In Saturday’s 90-77 loss to Florida Atlantic, Killen was the offensive leader, knocking down five 3-pointers en route to a team-high 23 points.
That outside presence has Herd coach Dan D’Antoni toying around with how to maximize his offensive abilities to give the Herd a much-needed spark.
“The way Obinna is shooting now, can he be a ‘3’ and put him out there to space the floor for us?” D’Antoni said.
Killen is a multi-level threat for the Herd, averaging 13.8 points, a team-best 6.9 rebounds and 4.0 blocks, which rank second nationally.
The freshman from Chapmanville showcased a different side of his scoring capabilities, coming off screens and pulling up for several 3-pointers in rhythm, which led the Herd back from an early 18-point deficit.
Killen then finished a 3-point play that pulled the Herd within 72-67 with under eight minutes left before the Owls distanced themselves again.
With Killen’s offensive presence now becoming as integral as his shot-blocking, D’Antoni fully expects the opposition to take notice and adjust, which he feels will take some pressure off Herd guards Taevion Kinsey and Andrew Taylor.
“People are going to guard him different after watching this last film, I feel pretty good, so that might open the middle up for us and let Andy and Taevion get up in there,” D’Antoni said.
Killen has been the Herd’s top 3-point presence, knocking down 42% of his attempts. He’s second behind Taylor for the most 3-pointers on the team with 16.
On Thursday, Marshall (7-8, 0-2 Conference USA) takes on North Texas (9-4, 2-1), which ranked 19th nationally in 3-point percentage defense, allowing teams to knock down just 28% of their attempts.
The Mean Green ranks third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 55.8 points per game, so Marshall has to maximize each possession and take advantage of all weapons available.
Killen’s ability to score at all levels is one that will be crucial for the entire offense as the Herd looks to open things up against the defending Conference USA champions at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cam Henderson Center.