The Marshall men’s basketball team kicked off its season Thursday night when it hosted Bluefield College in its first and only exhibition.
While the Rams kept the game close early, the final result was never in question as the Herd came away with a 94-67 victory.
However, despite the final score, head coach Tom Herrion was not thrilled with his team’s performance. The Herd played sloppy basketball throughout the game and finished the game with 15 turnovers compared to just 11 assist.
“It’s clearly good to get it out of the way. We obviously weren’t very good and yet we still won comfortably,” Herrion said. “It clearly gives us a great opportunity to teach from this.”
The one thing Herrion was pleased with was the Herd’s dominance on the boards. Marshall pulled in 69 rebounds, out-rebounding the Rams by 45. Bluefield tallied 25 total rebounds, while the Herd had 28 on the offensive glass alone.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever, ever at any level, seen a team out-rebound somebody by 45,” Herrion said. “I had no problem with the effort.”
The Herd was shorthanded as five players did not dress, leaving senior Dennis Tinnon as the only player that has ever started a game for Marshall to play.
Deandre Kane and Nigel Spikes were a coach’s decision not to play, while Robert Goff and Devince Boykins were held out due to injury. Kareem Canty was also held out of action due to some lingering NCAA issues.
With five players not in action the Herd was left with an inexperienced roster that, despite its many flaws came out with a victory.
“We’re going to play a lot of guys throughout the year for different reasons. We don’t blink, we don’t flinch. Next man up, no matter who it is,” Herrion said.
For the majority of Marshall’s players who saw action, Thursday night’s game was their first Division I experience including Austin Loop, Tamron Manning, Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver.
“You can’t get experience until you go through experiences. I don’t care if its JUCO, high school or prep, nothing simulates putting the lights on and putting the uniform on in front of your home fans,” Herrion said.
The standout of the game for the Herd was junior college transfer Elijah Pittman. The junior recorded a double-double in his Marshall debut scoring 23 points and snatching down 13 rebounds.
“I could have played a little better. I could have shot a little bit better, but I thought our overall performance had good hustle and good effort,” Pittman said.
Marshall will tip off its regular season Nov. 9 when the Herd will take on Longwood inside the Cam Henderson Center.