— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall looks to remain perfect on the young season as it continues its season-opening five-game home stand Thursday night at 7 p.m., against Campbell.
The Herd is coming off an 80-58 win over Milligan on Monday. Marshall senior guard Taevion Kinsey led all scorers in the contest with 21 points. He was joined in double figures by Obinna Anochili-Killen with 12 points and Marko Sarenac with 11 points.
Despite the 22-point win margin, Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni wasn’t totally pleased with his team’s performance against Milligan, and says the remainder of the home stand, which includes Sunday’s contest against Jackson State and a game Tuesday against Louisiana, will be a challenge.
“We’ve got three tough ones coming up,” D’Antoni said. “These games should be fun and entertaining for the fans.”
Campbell arrives in Huntington with a 2-1 record and plenty of confidence after a solid performance last Saturday in a 67-56 loss at No. 9 Duke. Ricky Clemons and Cedric Henderson led the Camels with 18 points each.
The Camels performance impressed Duke Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“That was really a good basketball game,” Krzyzewski said. “They are really a well-coached, disciplined team. That could be a first-round NCAA Tournament game. They are disciplined deep into the shot clock. That doesn’t happen with a lot of teams. These guys know how to play basketball.”
Campbell has wins over William Peace and Hartford, the latter of which was a 68-67 triumph. The Camels are guided by coach Kevin McGeehan, who is in his ninth season at the Buies Creek, North Carolina based school, which is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Marshall has won the only game it played against Campbell, a 105-66 victory back in 1982.
Sunday’s opponent Jackson State is off to an 0-3 start on the season, with road losses to No. 11 Illinois, Conference USA member Louisiana Tech and California Baptist. The Tigers don’t play their first home game of the season until December 29.
The Tigers, who belong to the Southwest Athletic Conference, are led by head coach Wayne Brent, who is in his ninth season at JSU.
Marshall is 2-0 all-time against JSU, with the most recent game played in Huntington in 2016, a 71-61 Herd victory.
Kinsey continues to lead Marshall in scoring at 21.5 points per game in two contests. Three other Herd players are averaging in double figures — junior guard Andy Taylor, sophomore Anochili-Killen (11.5 ppg) and freshman forward Aymeric Toussaint (10.5 ppg). Anochili-Killen leads MU with 7.5 rebounds per game.
D’Antoni says preparing for three games within seven days doesn’t worry him because it’s common in the early days of most seasons.
“Most of my coaching regards how we play, not who we play,” D’Antoni said.
Marshall was originally scheduled to host Jackson State Sunday at 2 p.m., but the game time was moved back two hours to not conflict with the Marshall men’s soccer team, which will be hosting an NCAA Tournament second-round match starting at 1 p.m. at Hoops Family Field. Marshall meets the winner of Thursday’s match between Providence and Marist.