By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Marshall is off the schneid, having beaten an NCAA team for the first time in well over a month. But as Conference USA play kicks off, the Thundering Herd will have to take to the road in trying to build off Sunday’s win over Presbyterian College.
So far, the road has not been kind to Marshall.
The Herd (6-9) will play its first league game of the season tonight at UTSA (4-9). Tipoff at the Convocation Center will be at 8 p.m.
Tonight’s game against the league newcomer is the first of two straight away from home. Marshall is still looking for its first road win after losing its first seven.
Sunday’s 77-49 win over Presbyterian snapped a three-game losing streak.
“This is a big confidence booster going into conference play,” said forward Ryan Taylor, the reigning C-USA Freshman of the Week, who had 18 points and 12 rebounds against the Blue Hose. “We were just happy to get that monkey off our back and to do it at home in front of our own crowd. Coach wrote on the board that it is a 0-0 start, a fresh start for us.”
“To say that the victory was needed would be one of my biggest understatements in my three and a half years here,” coach Tom Herrion said. “We needed the taste of victory in the worst way. ... This was a needed win and pivotal for us as we head into conference play.
“We talk about a fresh start and this group needs a fresh start. They deserve it and now it’s a 16-game season for us. That’s all we’re focused on with the road trip and the new scheduling. It will be UTSA on Thursday and UTEP on Saturday. All of our focus is on San Antonio and trying to take care of business on the road against that ball club. We need to handle our first game of conference play.”
The probable starters for Marshall are Taylor (13.6 points, 7.1 rebounds), freshman forward Kareem Canty (16.4 ppg, league-leading 6.9 assists), sophomore guard Chris Thomas (11.6 ppg), sophomore guard DeVince Boykins (2.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg) and sophomore TyQuane Goard (7.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg).
The Roadrunners are led by point guard Keon Lewis, who averages 15.3 points and 2.3 assists per game. His playing status is questionable because of a head injury that has forced him to miss the last three games.
Also scoring in double figures for UTSA are Hyji Thomas (12.2), Jordan Sims (11.2) and Devon Agusi (11.1). Phillip Jones leads the team at 5.9 rebounds per game.
UTSA is last in C-USA in field goal percentage defense (48.4) and scoring defense (78.6 ppg).
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