Struggling squads meet in Miami when Marshall collides with FIU

— By Bill Cornwell

Two teams struggling to win of late meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in Miami when Marshall brings a seven-game skid into its matchup with Florida International, which has lost six of its last eight.

The game at Ocean Bank Convocation Center and can be seen on ESPN+.

Marshall (7-10, 0-4) showed improvement in home losses last week to North Texas and Rice, but still couldn’t produce a desired result, while FIU (10-7, 0-4) dropped Conference USA road games at UAB (84-56) and Middle Tennessee (50-39).

Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni says he was encouraged by improved shooting in last weekend’s losses, but the inability to hit 3-point shots and make plays down the stretch continues to plague the Herd.

“We’re playing better, but you can’t have just two or three 3-pointers in a game when the other team is getting 10 or 12,” D’Antoni said. “We’re starting to play better basketball, but we have to make plays in bigger moments.”

Junior guard Taevion Kinsey is coming off a big week for Marshall as he scored 60 points and averaged 7.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds in the losses to North Texas and Rice. Kinsey leads the Herd with 20.5 points per game average.

Redshirt freshman forward Obinna Anochili-Killen (13.3 ppg) and junior guard Andrew Taylor (12.3 ppg) also average in double figures. Anochili-Killen is Marshall’s top rebounder at 6.7 per game, followed closely by Taylor (5.9 per game), Kinsey (5.4 rpg) and senior forward Darius George (5.4 rpg).

Marshall is shooting 43.7 percent from the field, but struggling mightily with a 27.2 percent clip from the 3-point line.

D’Antoni, who is 135-109 in this his eighth season at his alma mater, says the lack of wins isn’t causing him to get down on his team.

“There’s a lot of fight in these bones and these bones don’t quit,” he said.

Jeremy Ballard is in his fourth season as the Panthers head coach and he has a 58-50 career record.

Redshirt junior guard Tevin Brewer leads FIU by scoring 15 points per game. Freshman guard Denver Jones (12.2 ppg) and sophomore guard Daniel Parrish (10 ppg) also average in double figures. Graduate forward Clevon Brown is the Panthers’ top rebounder at 5.8 per game.

The Panthers outscore their opponents on average by five points per game, but they are outrebounded by 3.5 per game. FIU shoots 42 percent from the field, 33.9 percent on 3-pointers and 69.3 percent from the free throw line.

Marshall has won 11 of 12 games against Florida International, with the last meeting an 89-72 Herd win in Miami last January 23.

After Thursday’s game, Marshall heads north on Interstate 95 to play at Florida Atlantic on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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