— by David Walsh
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall worked its way to a comfortable lead in the second half before Pikeville found a bit of an offensive stride in the closing 10 minutes, but the Thundering Herd prevailed, 83-69, Wednesday night in front of 3,719 fans at Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall closes the exhibition season 2-0. UPIKE had played its season opener on Sunday, defeating Virginia University of Lynchburg, 95-59, in Pikeville, Ky.
Teddy Parham Jr. scored for the Bears at 12:55 to cut the deficit to 12-11, only to see the Thundering Herd take over from that point. Guard Andy Taylor nailed a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to give the Herd a 47-27 lead at the break.
In the second half, Taevion Kinsey’s basket with 10:47 to play stretched the advantage to 68-47.
From that point, UPIKE found a bit of a touch and cut into the deficit. Kenyan Cutlip knocked down a trey with 4:48 to play to get within 78-64. Jordan Frazier’s layup with 2:12 to go got the visitors within 81-69. The Bears got no closer.
Taylor and Kinsey, the Herd’s two top scorers a year ago, led the way. Taylor had 24 points and a team-high six assists. He went 10-of-20 from the field with four 3s.
Kinsey, the team’s leading scorer last season, finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He converted 7-of-12 field-goal attempts.
Freshman Micah Handlogten started at center and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
The Herd had 12 players see action and 11 score. Kamdyn Curfman, a transfer from VMI known for long-range shooting, went 2 of 7 behind the arc for six points.
For UPIKE, 6-foot-8 Devin Collins led the attack with 15 points. This is his first year with the Bears after he left Marshall after last season via the transfer portal. Collins played in high school at Chapmanville and helped the team win two Class AA state titles.
Jacob Brown and Shaun Spencer each had 10 for UPIKE. Parham, who netted 20 in the win over Virginia Lynchburg, scored five.
The Bears have 11 new players this season.
Marshall finished with 11 triples and the Bears 10. The Herd had a 22-9 edge in second-chance points and 42-26 cushion in points in the paint.
Marshall now gets ready for the season-opener Monday against Queens University of Charlotte. Tipoff at Curry Arena in Charlotte is 7 p.m.
This will be the Royals’ first year in Division I. They are in the Atlantic Sun. Queens went 30-4 a year ago and reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division II national tournament.