Tough test awaits Herd at Troy

— By Bill Cornwell

Following three victories over a four-game home stand that ended last weekend with a 91-74 win over Coastal Carolina, Marshall (12-12, 7-4) will be on the road for the next two weeks for three contests, starting Wednesday night at Troy. 

The matchup starts and 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.

Marshall (12-12, 7-4) has history on its side and a 3-0 series advantage against Troy, which includes a 10-point win last season in Huntington.

Despite the convincing win over the Chanticleers, Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni wants his team to remain hungry.

“We’ve got to learn to play when we’re ahead,” D’Antoni said. “You’ve got to just keep grinding it out and don’t let teams get back in games. We’re still working at that.”

Troy (15-8, 9-2) sits in second place in the Sun Belt Conference, one game behind Sun Belt leader Appalachian State, a team the Trojans defeated back on January 6.

The Trojans last played on Saturday, defeating Georgia State 78-74 in Atlanta.

Scott Cross is in his fifth year as Troy’s head coach and has a 75-72 record. Cross was also head coach from 2006-2018 at UT-Arlington.

D’Antoni isn’t giving up hope that his team still has a chance to win a Sun Belt regular season title. He says road performances will determine if Marshall can live up to his expectations.

“We’ve got to win this game,” D’Antoni said. “Troy is a good ball club. They have four shooters who can make threes and they play hard and get after you.”

Four Trojans average double-figure scoring, led by the 15.9 average of senior guard Eugene Christyon. The others are junior guard Tayton Conerway (11.4 ppg), senior guard Aamer Muhammad (10.7 ppg) and freshman forward Myles Rigsby (10.6 ppg). Freshman forward Thomas Dodd is Troy’s top rebounder with a 5.3 average.

Marshall’s statistics have not changed drastically in recent weeks, with four players still averaging double-figure scoring. That group is led by Obinna Anochili-Killen, who upped his average to 16.9 following a 30-point effort against Coastal. Graduate guard Kevon Voyles (13.7 ppg), senior guard Kamdyn Curfman (13.4 ppg) and junior forward Nate Martin (11.3 ppg) round out of the double-figure scorers, while Martin is still the Herd’s top rebounder at 9.5 per game.

This is Marshall’s only game of the week.

Next week, the Herd has road contests at Appalachian State on February 15 and Coastal Carolina two days later.

— — — — —

The Sun Belt Conference-leading Marshall women’s basketball team has an early start for its only game this week when the Herd plays host to Louisiana at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The game is dubbed Education Day and hundreds of Huntington-area school children will be in attendance. Marshall will also be celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

The Herd (16-6, 10-1) suffered its first conference loss last Saturday, falling to James Madison, 72-63. 

Louisiana (9-11, 5-6) is coming off a 73-52 win on Saturday over Louisiana-Monroe. 

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