— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The hot streak continued for Marshall’s basketball team Wednesday as the squad won for a sixth straight time, defeating Akron, 68-57.
The second half of a Mid-American Conference double dip for the Herd (6-1) comes Saturday afternoon when an old rival in the Ohio Bobcats visits the Cam Henderson Center.
The game tips off at 5 p.m. and will be shown by ESPN+.
Marshall’s win streak is close to a month in length and has featured double-digit victories in each of the six wins.
Taevion Kinsey and Andrew Taylor are the top scorers, which is hardly unexpected for two veteran leaders. What is more impressive is the work of two true freshmen — 7-foot-1 center Micah Handlogten and 6-8 forward Jacob Conner.
Handlogten was a defensive wall against Akron with six blocks, three steals and nine rebounds. Conner was equally also effective against the Zips with nine points and two steals. He made all six of his free-throw attempts.
“These players are listening and they’re tuned in,” veteran head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “They’re committed to this school, to the program and to themselves.”
The Herd’s next test comes in an Ohio squad coming off a 113-44 defeat of Cincinnati-Clermont.
The game has been announced as a “White Out” and the Herd is hoping for a crowd near or at full capacity.
The Cam was rocking tonight for the @Herd_MBB BIG WIN over the Zips!🤘
Let’s bring that same energy Saturday and PACK THE CAM! 🏀
⚪️ Wear white and get there early for a rally towel giveaway! ⚪️
— Marshall Ticket Office (@HerdTickets) December 1, 2022
Marshall and Ohio have plenty of history as past Mid-American Conference competitors.
Ohio leads the all-time series, 57-49. The squads met in Athens last season and the Bobcats won, 75-65. The last meeting in Huntington was the season before, which Marshall won.
Former Marshall assistant Jeff Boals is in his fourth season as head coach at his alma mater. He has a 63-35 with the Bobcats.
The Bobcats are 4-3 and their other wins are against Cleveland State, Eastern Illinois and Alabama State. Ohio had close road losses to Belmont and Michigan, with the game against the Wolverines going into overtime. The Bobcats also dropped a game to Detroit Mercy.
Guard Miles Brown and graduate forward Dwight Wilson each average 12.3 points to lead OU. Junior guard Jaylin Hunter averages 9.9 points. Wilson is averaging 10.7 rebounds, while sophomore forward AJ Clayton chips in with 7.4 boards.
The Bobcats shoot 46.4 percent from the field, just under 36 percent from behind the 3-point arc and nearly 70 percent from the free throw line. Ohio is out-rebounding the opposition by over 8 per game.
After playing five of the first seven games at home to start the season, Marshall starts a three-game road trip after the Ohio game next Thursday at Duquesne. Contests at Robert Morris and UNC-Greensboro follow.