By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Facing an NAIA team at home, Marshall was supposed to blow out Alice Lloyd.
A 64-point win Tuesday — the second-biggest margin of victory in Thundering Herd history — was expected. Coach Tom Herrion was more concerned with the way it happened.
“I challenged them on the bus ride back Saturday (after a 74-64 loss to West Virginia), that we would find out a lot about this group, regardless of the opponent, by how we approached this game,” Herrion said. “They showed me they’ve got some moxie.”
Six players scored in double figures, including redshirt freshman Austin Loop’s 17 points in 13 minutes off the bench. Ryan Taylor scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting, while Shawn Smith had 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Yous Mbao grabbed 14 rebounds — 12 on defense — and freshman Kareem Canty added to his Conference USA-leading total with a career-high 14 assists in 28 minutes to go along with 11 points.
It added up a 121-57 victory, a margin that still did not approach an 84-point victory over Salem in 2009.
Marshall (5-6) shot 64.7 percent from the floor and had assists on 30 of its 44 made field goals, outrebounded the Eagles 54-32 and turned the ball over just 10 times.
“They were really ready to play and we were very unselfish,” Herrion said. “Our ball movement was excellent and we simply put the ball in the basket tonight. We had a lot of guys step up for us and it was nice to watch those kids have their moment.”
“It feels great to get the win, no matter who we play,” Canty said. “We’re supposed to win our games on the road, but that’s over with. This win feels good and now we have to focus on Saturday.”
Arkansas State (5-4), tonight’s opponent in Huntington, is led by coach John Brady. Now in his sixth season with the Red Wolves, Brady was twice named SEC Coach of the Year during a 10-year career at LSU.
Kirk Van Slyke, a 6-foot-10, 228-pound senior forward, averages 16.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for Arkansas State. Melvin Johnson III is next at 16.1 ppg, and Kendrick Washington is tied with Van Slyke at 5.8 boards.
After tonight’s game, the Herd will take off for Christmas break before returning to action Monday, Dec. 30, at South Carolina. That will be followed by a Jan. 2 game at Akron.
Marshall is 0-5 on the road.
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