By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
College basketball starts all over the nation tonight, and Huntington will be in on the party.
Marshall, in head coach Tom Herrion's fourth season, will host South Carolina State at 7 p.m.
It will be the Marshall debut for several players — the Thundering Herd returns just one starter and had four players leave the program.
The Herd was 13-19 and lost to Tulane in the first round of the Conference USA tournament. A season that started with high expectations was a massive failure.
“We obviously went through a challenging season, to say the least,” said Heerrion. “I think a lot of people, including myself, learned a lot from that. We’re confident we’re in a positive direction moving forward.”
The Herd had five players score in double figures in a 94-60 win over Concord in an exhibition game Oct. 28, paced by Kareem Canty and Shawn Smith with 15 each. Elijah Pittman, Ryan Taylor and Kevin McNair all scored 14.
Pittman is the only starter back from a year ago.
Taylor and TyQuane Goard, a transfer from Ohio University, who led George Washington to the Class AAA state title in 2011, both had 10 rebounds.
Marshall shot well from the floor, going 33 of 61 (54.1 percent), but was only 22 of 38 (57.9 percent) from the free-throw line.
Canty had a bad night, turning the ball over eight times — half the team's total.
South Carolina State defeated Claflin 67-57 Monday in its only exhibition. Guard Jordan Smith scored 13 points off the bench, Daryll Palmer had 12 and Matthew Hezekiah and Jalen White scored 11 each.