Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Men’s Basketball Dusted by the Dukes

Men%E2%80%99s+Basketball+Dusted+by+the+Dukes
Courtesy of HerdZone

The Marshall Men’s Basketball Team was defensively dominated by the James Madison Dukes in a 67-52 loss this past Saturday, Jan. 20, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

“I like where we are–other than losing,” head coach Dan D’Antoni stated following the loss. “But I like what I saw in the progression from Thursday night to Saturday night.”

Although Marshall lost, it progressed in certain aspects from what D’Antoni deemed “bad basketball” in Thursday night’s loss at Old Dominion University. On Saturday, the Herd traded the lead with the Dukes – who were ranked in the top 25 nationally earlier this season –  multiple times in the first half, alongside shooting a perfect eight of eight from the free-throw line. 

Marshall was down by three points heading into halftime of the teams’ seventh all-time meeting, with the score 32 to 29.   JMU’s Noah Freidel hit a 3-point shot to open the final 20 minutes of regulation and helped the Dukes lead the remainder of the game,outscoring Marshall 35 to 23. Despite an 18-point offensive effort by Kamdyn Curfman in the second half, the Herd otherwise limped offensively with its lowest shooting percentage of the season from the field, completing only 30% of its shots. JMU also decimated Marshall in the paint, outshooting them 38 to 10.

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Curfman, who totaled 23 points Saturday afternoon, was joined by Kevon Voyles and his 11 points as the only two Herd players to score double digits. Obinna Anochili-Killen, the team leader in average points per game for the Herd, was smothered to a mere five points. Anochili-Killen was an uncharacteristically inefficient one of 11 from the field and one of seven from outside the arc; his only bright spot was a singular perfect two of two trip to the charity stripe. 

Anochili-Killen’s performance encapsulated the Herd’s night in a nutshell; Marshall was offensively stifled. The Herd was browbeaten to not just its poorest offensive effort of the season by the Dukes’ defense but also their lowest-scoring game in over four years, with a total of 52 points. 

The last time Marshall scored 52 or less points in a game was Jan. 11, 2020, when the Herd scored only 50 total points against the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Marshall entered Saturday’s battle of the Virginias on a two-game losing streak, and with the loss, returns to the Cam Henderson Center for a four-game homestand in the coming weeks. The loss drops Marshall to a 9-11 overall record, with a 4-3 record in Sun Belt Conference play. On the heels of a three-game skid, the team continues to search for answers as to why the team appears to be in a recent funk.

“It’s not a locker room issue,” D’Antoni said post-game. “It’s us trying to find out who’s going to make big plays in big moments.”

The Marshall Men’s Basketball Team will return to the Cam Henderson Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24, to face the Georgia State Panthers.

“We’re coming home, we’ve got four games – give us a chance,” D’Antoni said. “If we win those four, we can be right back on top.”

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About the Contributor
Ben Cower, Student Reporter
Ben Cower is a senior sports journalism major from Purcellville, Virginia. He currently serves as the sports director at WMUL-FM alongside calling races as the track announcer of Ona Speedway; of which, the track is the only paved active auto racing oval in the state of West Virginia. With WMUL-FM, Ben broadcasts games on the Cutting Edge Sports Radio Network alongside producing and hosting "SpeedZone," an award-winning, weekly radio program focusing on motorsports. When he has time to breathe, Ben enjoys digging through vinyl shelves at local record stores and enjoying a nice sunset with a reuben sandwich in hand.
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