By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Coming off Thursday’s win over FIU, Marshall would like to build on the momentum. More importantly, today will be used to bring attention to a cause that hits close to home for Thundering Herd coach Tom Herrion.
Herrion will be among the 200 coaches across the nation today wearing blue lapel pins in honor of Autism Awareness Day. The pins were purchased by Herrion and his good friend, Towson coach Pat Skerry. Herrion’s 8-year-old son Robert and Skerry’s son Owen both are afflicted with autism, which is the result of a neurological disorder and impacts the development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. The condition, according to Autism Speaks Inc., is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences and can occur with no family history.
In addition to the coaches’ lapel pins, Herd players will be wearing black T-shirts with the words “We Are ... Listening” surrounding the top and bottom of the Marshall athletics logo on the front and a multi-colored puzzle piece with the words “AUTISM SPEAKS it’s time to listen” on the back.
Among the coaches who will wear the pins are West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’ Bill Self and former St. Johns coach Mike Jarvis, who will lead Florida Atlantic into the Cam Henderson Center for a noon game.
Many of the coaches will be involved in nationally televised games, bringing an even broader scope to the effort. Making the pins more visible will be Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas and Seth Davis wearing them on “College GameDay” on ESPN.
On the court, the Herd will be looking to continue the momentum it has built the last two games. Yes, Marshall (8-14, 2-5 Conference USA) was destroyed by Louisiana Tech, 98-77, last Saturday, but it was done in by 22 turnovers that led to 29 points. In that game and then against FIU, Marshall shot 50.9 percent from the floor.
Conversely, the Herd committed just nine turnovers in the 80-68 win over the Panthers.
“We’ve been outstanding in practice this week,” Herrion said. “We are really getting better as a team and I’m really happy for my players. We have a big game Saturday at noon, so our team is going to enjoy this win and prepare for the next game.”
“It felt good winning on our own floor with our own crowd,” freshman forward Ryan Taylor said. “It was a relief after the tough road trip, and we want to take this into Saturday.”
FAU (7-14, 2-4) is led by guard Pablo Berone, who is averaging 18.2 points and 2.3 assists per game. Center Justin Raffington is pulling down 9.1 rebounds.
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