Marshall and Louisiana meet in search of 4th win this season

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall rebounded from its only loss with Sunday’s 80-66 win over Jackson State, but the challenge gets a bit tougher Tuesday night when the University of Louisiana takes on the Thundering  Herd at the Henderson Center.

The game tips off at 7 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN+.

Louisiana and Marshall will begin to play regularly when the Thundering Herd joins the Sun Belt Conference within the next two years.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-1) are coming off a 76-44 loss at Indiana. Marshall (3-1) will play at Indiana Saturday evening.

Louisiana began the season with consecutive wins over West Florida, Conference USA member Southern Miss and Xavier (Loiusiana).

Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni was happy with his team’s win over Jackson State, but he warned Herd fans to prepare for a battle on Tuesday night.

“The team is similar to Jackson State, but they’re bigger and maybe more talented,” D’Antoni said.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by a former Marshall assistant, Bobby Marlin, who has a 207-132 record in 12 seasons in Lafayette. Marlin was an assistant to current Oregon head coach Dana Altman in Altman’s single season in Huntington.

Top scorers for the Ragin’ Cajuns are sophomore forward Jordan Brown at 13.3 points per game and junior forward Theo Akwuba at 10 points. Akwuba is Louisiana’s top rebounder at 8.5 per game, followed closely by Brown with seven. Junior guard Greg Williams Jr. tops the Ragin’ Cajuns with 12 assists.

Louisiana has struggled with its shooting percentages at just 36.6 percent on field-goal attempts and 59.8 percent on free throws.

Marshall is still dealing with its own shooting woes from beyond the three-point line. Normally reliable shooters such as guards Andrew Taylor (5 of 27) and Taevion Kinsey (2 for 11) are struggling from long distance.

The Herd made only 4-of-17 three point shot attempts against Jackson State.

Triples are a big part of D’Antoni’s offense and he’s confident that the Thundering Herd will eventually get out of its shooting slump.

“We make everything in practice,” D’Antoni said. “We can shoot and we’ll eventually again when it counts.”

Kinsey still leads Marshall in scoring at 19.8 points per contest and he’s followed by three other double-figure scorers in Darius George (14.8 points), Obinna Anochili-Killen (12.8 points) and Taylor (11 points).

Anochili-Killen leads Marshall with eight rebounds on average and George (6.8) is also a key factor on the glass.

Anochili-Killen has recorded 22 blocks in Marshall’s first four games, averaging 5.5 per game.

This will be the seventh meeting between the schools and the series is tied at three wins apiece. The teams last met in the 1996-1997 season, a 71-61 Marshall win in a game played at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The two schools first met in 1972 in the NCAA Tournament when the Ragin’ Cajuns, then known as Southwest Louisiana, beat Marshall 112-101 in a first-round game in Las Cruces, New Mexico.





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