Herd pulls away from King for 14-point win

Shannon Stowers, Assistant Sports Editor

The Thundering Herd men’s basketball team got its first win in nearly a month Tuesday night as it defeated the King University Tornadoes 90-76 .

The Herd got off to a fast start with back-to-back threes from Austin Loop and a dunk by Ryan Taylor that pushed the Marshall University lead to 13-3 just over four minutes into the game.

Loop said after the game that after the hot start, King started to pay more attention to him, and like in the Capital Classic, foul trouble took him out of the game, allowing the Tornadoes to come back.

“I was getting open looks early, they were finding me,” Loop said. “They started to shade me a little bit, they kept a guy pretty close, but then I got in foul trouble again, same as the West Virginia [University] game and that kind of hurt me. They missed their first few shots, but then they started making shots and that’s when they climbed back into it.”

King would then go on a 13-3 run of its own to bring things even at 16. Both teams would then struggle to find any offensive consistency, shooting just 35 percent from the field. With just over five minutes to go in the half, however, both the Herd and the Tornadoes would start hitting shots again.

After King took a 26-24 lead at the 4:44 mark, the Herd went on a 13-1 run to take a 37-27 lead with just over a minute to go. Behind Loop’s 17 points and 11 points from Taylor, Marshall took a 40-35 lead into halftime.

The Herd wasn’t able to start the second half like it finished the first, though, shooting just 1-8 from the field in the first five minutes, but it would begin to pull away midway through the half.

Marshall used its defensive pressure and Tornadoes turnovers to score easy buckets in transition to push the lead out to as much as 12 before finishing with its 14 point lead at the final horn.

The Herd finished the game with 23 fast-break points and 22 points off King turnovers.

After King took a 45-44 lead at the 15:38 mark, Brett Bowling came on and seemingly provided the spark the Herd needed. Bowling’s three pointer triggered an 18-6 run that saw the Herd take a double-digit lead that it would ultimately finish with.

Head coach Dan D’Antoni praised Bowling and fellow freshman Milan Mijovic for their contributions in the second half.

“[Bowling] got in there and he contributed, and he worked hard,” D’Antoni said. “I thought Milan contributed, he got in there and he plays hard and he runs up and down the floor. They’re young freshman, but you know what sometimes you can leave talent on a shelf and you’d rather have that guy, that whatever he’s got, he puts it on the floor, and I think those two right there, whatever they got, they put it on the floor.”

D’Antoni said he’s happy with the win, which came against a pretty good team in his eyes, regardless of what division they’re in.

“To come out with a win against a team that’s 6-2, even though they’re Division II, they’re still 6-2,” D’Antoni said. “The only games they lost were very close and they were ahead and should have won those.”

The win breaks a six game losing streak dating back to the Herd’s Nov. 21 loss at Louisville. The win also moves Marshall’s record to 4-6 heading into a four-game road trip over the next three weeks.

The Herd travels to Arkansas to take on Arkansas State University before heading out west to face the University of Nevada. Marshall rounds out its non-conference schedule at the University of Akron before opening conference play at Western Kentucky University Jan. 4.

Shannon Stowers can be contacted at [email protected].