Herd Cruises to Season-Opening Win over Longwood

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Herd Cruises to Season-Opening Win over Longwood

HUNTINGTON, WVPreseason All-Conference USA selection DeAndre Kane, produced 18 points, eight assists and three blocked shots to help Marshall men’s basketball route Longwood 81-47, in front of 5,472 fans at the Cam Henderson Center on Friday.

Marshall improved to 1-0 with the season opening victory, while Longwood dropped to 0-1. It was the Herd’s seventh-straight season opening win.

“The crowd was terrific tonight,” head coach Tom Herrion said. “Good energy by our players. We had a good focus all day today. I thought a lot of our mistakes today were playing a little too fast, especially on the offensive end of the floor, but I thought our defense was pretty good first day out.”

The Herd defense limited Longwood to 17-of-57 from the field for a 29.8 shooting percentage. The 47 points allowed was the least amount in a season opener since 1950-51, when Marshall forced Fairmont State to just 34 points.

Nigel Spikes finished with a team-high five steals, helping Marshall record 12 on the night. The senior forward just missed out on a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Marshall benefited from accurate shooting, finishing 29-for-57 from the field for a 50.9 percent average and making 6-of-14 three-pointers. The Herd was also took advantage of 18 Longwood turnovers, which it produced into 28 points.

Kane finished 6-of-11 from the field and went 6-of-10 from the free throw line, while also adding four rebounds and a steal.

“He played at a great pace,” noted Herrion on Kane. “A lot of other guys, especially newer guys, play so fast because they are hyped up. Their adrenaline’s going. DeAndre always seems to play at a really good pace for us. It’s kind of how his game is. We spent a lot of time in the offseason moving him around, playing both guard positions. He’s showed that versatility tonight.”

Junior college transfers D.D. Scarver and Elijah Pittman adjusted well in their first NCAA game. Scarver matched Kane’s 18 points and accounted for three of Marshall’s six three-pointers, going 3-of-4 from behind the arch. Pittman netted nine points and totaled five rebounds.

“Scarver gave us a great jolt,” said Herrion. “We got him great shots, good screens, and good ball movement to get him open. He shot open shots, and he’s obviously a really good shooter.”

Marshall dominated the boards, earning 49 rebounds compared to the Lancers’ 27. Senior forwards Robert Goff joined spikes with nine to lead the team.

Never trailing in the game, the Herd jumped to a 15-5 lead after limiting the Lancers to just two made shots in the opening ten minutes of the game.

A 17-8 run to end the half put Marshall up 35-20 going into the locker rooms. Kane produced 10 points, four assists and three rebounds in the opening period, while Spikes posted seven points and seven rebounds.

Following halftime adjustments, the Herd pulled even farther away from Longwood, going on a 23-4 run in the first seven minutes of the second half. Marshall took its largest lead at 41 with 7:48 left as Chris Martin put in a lay-up to make the score 71-30.

The Herd would use 11 points from Scarver in the second half win the game 81-47. He finished 4-for-5 in the field and went 3-for-3 from three-pointers in closing period.

Marshall will have a quick turnaround as it plays at Villanova Sunday at 1 p.m. The game is the first of four in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. Sunday’s game can be seen on ESPN3.com.

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