D’Antoni hoping Marshall’s offense catches up to its defense when Northern Iowa visits

— By Bill Cornwell

Marshall men’s basketball coach Dan D’Antoni hopes to get rid of the bad taste of an inconsistent road performance Saturday when the Thundering Herd welcome the Northern Iowa Panthers to the Cam Henderson Center.

The 4 p.m. contest will be shown by Stadium.

Marshall (7-4) lost at Ohio on Wednesday, 75-65, in a game the Herd was plagued by inconsistency, falling behind by 17 points at one point and committing 22 turnovers.

MU shot only 37 percent from the field against the Bobcats.

D’Antoni hopes to see a turnaround from his team offensively with only one more non-conference contest upcoming — that being Tuesday at Toledo — before jumping into Conference USA play.

“We’ve got to be better on defense and just get the ball in the basket,” D’Antoni said. “I still like how we’re playing defense and we’ve got to get our offense to catch up with our defense. We can’t back down from physical teams. Push forward and get better.”

Northern Iowa (3-5, 0-1) last played Tuesday when it beat Jackson State, 66-56.

The Panthers are led by veteran coach Ben Jacobson, who has a 304-194 record in 16 seasons at UNI.

UNI junior guard AJ Green averages 17.4 points per game and is also tied for the team lead in assists. The Panthers have one other double-figure scorer, sophomore forward Noah Carter, who scores 10.8 points per game. The Panthers’ top rebounder is senior guard Trae Berhow, who grabs 5.1 per game.

On average, Marshall is scoring nearly 11 points more per game than Northern Iowa.

One area where UNI might have an advantage is in 3-point shooting, as the Panthers are hitting 36 percent from long distance, compared to Marshall, which is below 29 percent beyond the arc.

Taevion Kinsey still leads Marshall in scoring at 20.6 points each game. Andrew Taylor and Obinna Anochili-Killen also average scoring in double figures and Anochili-Killen leads the Herd in rebounds with a 7.4 average. He has also recorded 52 blocks.

Northern Iowa and Marshall have met once in the past, a game played in 2019 and won by the Panthers, 88-80 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

After Saturday’s game, Marshall won’t have a home game until January 8 when the Florida Atlantic Owls pay a visit to the Henderson Center.

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