GALLERY: Herd wins 69-55

Herd picks up seventh win with victory over the Owls

Marshall University men’s basketball team takes on the Owls of Rice University Thursday in the Cam Henderson Center.

Marshall University men’s basketball extended its win streak to six straight games against Rice University Thursday in the Cam Henderson Center.

The Thundering Herd won in convincing fashion, 69-55, after taking the lead with 4:09 left in the first half and maintaining it for the remainder of the game.

The Herd has now won three of its last four games, and sophomore forward Ryan Taylor has recorded a double-double in all four contests. He led all scorers with 17 points in this matchup and added 11 rebounds to his effort as well.

“I just think it’s all coming together. We’ve had time to learn coach (Dan) D’Antoni’s new system,” Taylor said. “Three out of our last four is pretty good considering the losing streak we had so it just feels good.”

Marshall held Rice to just 36.4 percent from the field for the game, while shooting a season-high 52.9 percent as a team.

Head coach Dan D’Antoni credited the Herd’s pick and roll defense, against the Owls and junior point guard Max Guercy, to his opponent’s poor shooting percentage.

“Their point guard (Guercy) is small,” D’Antoni said. “Usually we are up playing the pick and roll but with him we tried to stay in line with the roll guy, keep the little guy in front and just make him go over top.”

Rice leads C-USA with nine three pointers per game, and Marshall is right behind them with an average of eight.

The Herd had the hotter hand in this game, however, finishing 10 of 25 from downtown as opposed to the Owls’ 9 of 31.

Redshirt sophomore guard Austin Loop chipped in four of those three pointers for the Herd. Loop said he believes fast breaks help the offense run more efficiently.

“I think it’s when we’re at our best when we get out and go quick,” Loop said.

Nine of the 10 players, who saw floor time for Marshall, recorded at least one basket. Senior center JP Kambola said the offense is designed to create open looks.

“Coach emphasizes the bigs rolling in the paint,” Kambola said, “If you roll, when they collapse on a roll, and you kick it out, somebody’s going to be open.”

The Herd raised its record to 7-16 on the season and 3-7 in C-USA with the win, while the loss drops the Owls to 6-15 and 3-6 in conference.

The Herd will host another team from the Lone Star state Saturday when the University of North Texas visits for the first time this season.

Adam Polsky can be contacted at [email protected]