BOCA RATON, FL – Ryan Taylor posted a career-high 31 points and led the Herd to a 89-72 blow out win over Florida Atlantic. Taylor also snagged 13 rebounds for the 31st double-double in his career as Marshall moved to 2-0 in Conference USA.
“We played pretty good,” said coach Dan D’Antoni. “We were pretty sloppy with the ball handling for a while and turned some things we shouldn’t have done. But when you’re on the road from Pittsburgh and we came down and played three games on the road, that’s a week almost ten days for these kids, that’s a long time for these young kids.”
Taylor led four Marshall players in double figures. Stevie Browning finished with 14 points, Jon Elmore had 11 points and redshirt freshman Christian Thieneman had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Herd.
Thieneman has earned more playing as the season has progressed, especially with Taylor and Terrance Thompson missing time with injuries, but he has also caught the eye of his head coach.
“He plays really, really hard,” D’Antoni said of Thieneman. “We were kind of waiting on him and I told him that at his position he’s got to shoot the ball. I saw him to really make the attempt to wo5rk on his shooting then I started to try to find time to get him on the floor to reward him for his efforts. He’s going to be a good shooter. He’s got a great eye. It’s just a matter of getting used to a different shot, making it a little quicker and a little smoother.”
Marshall led nearly the entire way Monday night in Boca Raton. FAU made the first bucket of the game but from that point on it was all Thundering Herd. A Thieneman three-pointer with 4:26 left in the first half gave the Herd a 36-19 lead.
FAU scrapped its way back into the game by halftime, cutting the deficit from 17 points down to 9 points outscoring the Herd 15-7 over the final 4:09.
Nine points was as close as the Owls would get to the Herd. FAU trimmed Marshall’s lead to single digits twice in the second half, but each time Marshall answered pushing the lead out to as many as 23 points.
While 2-0 to start conference play is good news for Herd fans, the even better news for those rooting for the kelly green, is Marshall is getting closer to having the lineup on the floor that D’Antoni envisioned to start the year.
“I was glad to see old Ryan get well, he still has a little bit of a limp, hopefully when we rest at home a little bit that will go away. Terrance Thompson worked out with us today and he’s getting real close,” D’Antoni said.
The Herd is yet to have Terrance Thompson, Ryan Taylor, and C.J. Burks all available at the same time this season. Thompson suffered an abdominal injury earlier in the year and Burks missed the first part of the season due to academic issues.
“We’re going to get better,” D’Antoni predicted. “Then we’ll finally get to see the ball club we’ve imagined. We still haven’t been complete. Things right now are good, we’re 2-0. I’m going to enjoy it for a day then watch film tomorrow.”
The competition will ratchet up when Marshall returns to the Cam Henderson Center this week. The Herd plays host to Old Dominion on Thursday and Charlotte on Saturday.