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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Men’s Basketball Prepares for the Mountaineers

Voyles+has+39+steals+on+the+season.
Courtesy of HerdZone
Voyles has 39 steals on the season.

The snow-covered Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, North Carolina, will adorn some kelly green Thursday, Feb. 15, as Marshall Men’s Basketball prepares to duel the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

With an overall record of 12-13, the Herd currently idles with a 7-5 record in Sun Belt Conference play. Marshall ranks as the sixth best overall team in the conference, tied with Southern Miss, who is ranked fifth because of the Golden Eagles’ overall record.

The Herd’s most recent game was Wednesday, Feb. 7, in Troy, Alabama versus the Troy Trojans. Marshall was bested in the matchup 66-82, falling to a 3-5 overall record in road games this season. The Herd trailed by as many as 27 points in the second half after trailing by 16 points at halftime, only leading once the entire matchup in the opening minutes of regulation. 

Troy is now tied with App State for first in the conference, with both teams holstering 10-2 records. App State is also 6-4 on the road this season and 20-5 overall.

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In the meantime, Marshall has had plenty of time to ponder what went wrong in its most recent matchup, as it’s currently near the end of an eight-day break between games. That’s the longest stretch with no scheduled games for Marshall since Jan. 21-Jan. 30, of which the latter matchup began conference play for the Herd.

“Man, it felt good,” senior forward Obinna Anochili-Killen said after practice on Monday. “In practice, I was jumping, dunking; I had energy. These two days now give us time to rest the body and rest the mind. We looked ready today when we practiced – we looked really, really good.” 

With 49 years of head coaching experience across high school and college basketball,  head coach Dan D’Antoni was more cautious and less optimistic about the time off. 

“It’s rest or rust, I don’t know,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll find out when we come out [on Thursday]. I’ve seen it work both ways – I’ve seen it help and I’ve seen us get stale. I think we’ll be okay.”

Thursday’s matchup between longtime rivals Marshall and Appalachian State will be the 53rd all-time meeting between the two teams, the bad blood trailing all the way back to both teams’ time within the Southern Conference. For reference, Marshall joined the Southern Conference in 1977 – just a year after the Sun Belt Conference was created. 

This old rivalry is led by Marshall, who holds the all-time advantage with a 34-18 record over Appalachian State. The Herd is also undefeated when facing the Mountaineers in Sun Belt Conference play, besting Appalachian State in both matchups last season. The most recent matchup was Feb. 2, 2023, where Marshall notched a 66-58 victory in Boone.

“It’s a tough place to play,” D’Antoni said. “Toledo went in there as a good, solid, mid-major team and got beat. It’s a tough venue, and we understand that. We’re going to go in there and give it our best.”

Tipoff for Thursday’s matchup between Marshall and Appalachian State is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Feb. 15, at Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, North Carolina.

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