— By David Walsh
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — After Chicago State hung with Marshall for much of the night, the Thundering Herd finally created separation down the stretch.
Wesley Cardet Jr. hit a jumper to get the visiting Cougars within four at 69-65 with 7:12 left. When Taevion Kinsey converted two free throws with 3:50 to play, the Thundering Herd held its biggest lead at that time of 11 at 76-65 and went on for a fourth consecutive victory, 82-70, Monday night in front of 3,573 fans at Cam Henderson Center.
“Shooting was a little off. It’ll come back,” Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Thought they played hard. Give credit to their coach. That was not the team that played Kent (down 56-28 at the half). Looked more to me like the team that beat Valparaiso (87-74 win, 10 three-pointers) and IUPUI.”
The teams traded a pair of 9-0 spurts in the first half. The Herd started with a 9-0 run and the Cougars got one later and pulled even by halftime at 39-39. Marshall’s last 9-0 burst, finalized by a basket from Obinna Anochili-Killen, the margin reach 13 at 78-65 and the issue no longer in doubt.
Marshall improved to 4-1. Chicago State, meeting the Herd for the first time, goes to 2-4.
Marshall got the usual production from Kinsey and Andrew Taylor. Kinsey netted 22 (8-of-8 at the foul line) and Taylor led with 24 points (four treys).
“Times Taevion and Andy have to step up,” D’Antoni said. “Certain moments they did. Andy’s the toughest dude I’ve been around. He wills a way to get things done. Sometimes that will is too much. I’d pay to see him play.”
The highlight this night, however, goes to the Herd’s Micah Handlogten. The 7-foot-1 freshman recorded his first double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“Such a good guy,” D’Antoni said. “Great hands. He runs the floor and can do things facing the basket. He can handle rough play. He’s not afraid to throw it back at them. He’s very smart. He just has to get better. He will as he matures.”
Anochili-Killen had 13 points as the Herd starters combined for 77 points. Wyatt Fricks came off the bench with five (21-5 edge for visitors).
Marshall did play some zone defense at times and the Cougars took advantage. So back to man-to-man.
“Zone, I don’t like to play with short people,” D’Antoni said. “The way they shoot, the way they spread the floor. When you don’t have the length, it’s hard. Sometimes you run into hot teams. It’s not what you do, it’s what they do. They have long athletes and can jump. Stay in front of them, contest shots. We work at it.”
The Herd continues to be strong on the boards with 20 of its 44 rebounds on the offensive end. Marshall totaled 19 assists.
Bryce Johnson led the Cougars with 18 points (7-of-12 with four threes), Wesley Cardet added 17 and Jahsean Corbett and Kedrick Green with 11 each. Chicago State is one of two independent schools in Division I. The other is Hartford.
Marshall gets a Thanksgiving break now and is off until Saturday when Morehead State visits the Henderson Center at 7 p.m.
“We’re a good ball club,” D’Antoni said. “Probably the longest team I’ve had since I’ve been here. We’re still a developing team, still meshing. One of the biggest things was we competed all the way through.”