Men’s Basketball prepares for matchup against WKU

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Men’s Basketball prepares for matchup against WKU

Junior guard Jarrod West floats the ball to the basket at the Cam Henderson Center.

Junior guard Jarrod West floats the ball to the basket at the Cam Henderson Center.

Richard Crank

Junior guard Jarrod West floats the ball to the basket at the Cam Henderson Center.

Richard Crank

Richard Crank

Junior guard Jarrod West floats the ball to the basket at the Cam Henderson Center.

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The Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball team looks to start a winning streak as it plays the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Thursday night and travels to Bowling Green, KY for a rematch with the Hilltoppers, its Conference USA travel partner, Saturday night.  

The Herd is entering the week with a 9-10 record (3-3 C-USA) after defeating Old Dominion, 68-67, Saturday night. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are coming in with a 12-6 record (5-1 C-USA) after defeating Charlotte, 80-63 Saturday. 

Last season, with the addition of pod play, Marshall got a bye on a Thursday, then played the Hilltoppers at home on Saturday, Jan. 12, but then the next week had to play three games in five days, the usual Thursday and Saturday, and then an away match-up with the Hilltoppers the following Monday.

Head Coach Dan D’Antoni said not only did the three games in a five-day stretch hurt the Herd last season, but also its travel schedule the next week.

“(We) not only (played three games) Thursday to Monday, we also had to come back and then leave for our away games on Thursday and Saturday,” D’Antoni said. “That was the big thing, we were 5-0 going into that (away) stretch, then lost our legs and went 1-7. I gave them a week off, then came back and (finished the regular season) 5-0. If that stretch didn’t happen, in my mind, we would’ve won the conference last year.”

Junior guard Jarrod West said the team is preparing for the upcoming tough matchup.

 “(WKU) has a lot of great players, we are very familiar with them and they are very familiar with us,” West said. “We’ve had some tough battles over the last couple of years. This week is going to be very interesting; we have to prepare, get some rest and get ready to get back at it.”

Last season’s home match-up against the Hilltoppers was a tightly contested battle that came down to the final shot as forward Jannson Williams nailed a 3-pointer to put the Herd up 70-69 with 20 seconds left in the game. 

“Last year against them was a big moment for me and this team, knocking down that shot in front of a lot of people in one of biggest games ever,” Williams said. “We have a lot of talent on this team.”

D’Antoni said he thinks the Herd has a great opportunity ahead of itself this week, if it can win.

“We have a chance to put ourselves in the upper division of the league, if we can go out there and win two ball games,” D’Antoni said. “They are a great ball club, and supposedly have the talent to win (Conference USA).

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center and Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena at 7:30 p.m.

Spencer DuPuis can be contacted at [email protected]