Herd tops Hilltoppers 87-82

Marshall improves to 9-16 with its fifth win in the last six games

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Herd tops Hilltoppers 87-82

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

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

Andrea Steele

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

Andrea Steele

Andrea Steele

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

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Marshall University’s men’s basketball team picked up its fourth straight home C-USA win Saturday with an 87-82 victory over Western Kentucky University in the Cam Henderson Center.

Five different Thundering Herd players scored in double figures, and the Herd finished just shy of 50 percent from the field as a team in the contest.

Head coach Dan D’Antoni said it takes more than screaming and yelling for the team to work together.

“Chemistry is a funny thing,” D’Antoni said. “It’s something you can’t rush. I can get over there and yell and scream, it doesn’t do any good.”

Sophomore guard Austin Loop led the way for the Thundering Herd with 23 points and matched Hiltoppers’ sophomore guard Chris Harrison-Docks with six three-pointers. Six threes is a career high for Loop.

“I was surprised with some of the looks I was getting early,” Loop said. “They stuck to what they thought, and my guys were finding me and getting me good looks so that’s all I can ask for.”

WKU had not lost consecutive games since mid-November, and senior guard T.J. Price hit multiple three-pointers in 10 of his last 12 games prior to the matchup. However, Price played just five minutes in the first half due to foul trouble and never truly got into a rhythm. This left the Hilltoppers without their leading scorer and ultimately led to their second straight defeat.

Herd junior guard DeVince Boykins finished with a career high 10 points. Boykins went a perfect 5-5 from the field, including four dunks in the second half that energized his teammates and the crowd.

“With the offense being so spread, it opens up everything,” Boykins said. “With Loop knocking down shots, with Ryan (Taylor) being a threat, it opens up everything.”

Despite missing time in the first and second half with a reoccurring ankle injury, Taylor was able to stretch his double-double streak to seven consecutive games.

The Thundering Herd won its third straight in C-USA play for the first time since 2012 and has now won five of its last six games.

“(Our confidence is) sky high. We don’t want to be over-confident or cocky, but I feel like we’re playing really good basketball right now,” Taylor said.

Western Kentucky fell to 16-7 (4-7) with the loss. Marshall climbed to 9-16 (5-7) with the win.

The Herd will begin one of its toughest road trips of the season when it travels to Middle Tennessee State University Thursday and follows with a battle against University of Alabama at Birmingham Saturday.

Adam Polsky can be contacted at [email protected]

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