Inside Marshall Sports

The answer: Shaq, Kane

They have been given summons over an incident outside a 4th Avenue bar following the Memphis game. Statement forthcoming from Mike Hamrick and Coach Herrion, but I am told the two will play Wednesday night.

Without declaring guilt or innocence, I must say I’ve seen too much of this in my 9 years on the Herd beat. It gets old, old, old.

Link to today’s signing day

I will be updating my story here, adding observations as the morning progresses.

I am figuring I will head to Huntington after Chevelle Buie makes his choice known at 2ish ET. Davonte Allen/Robert Way decision is due later.

Signing day, etc.

Mapped out a general blueprint of the signing class, and have been monitoring the Herd’s hoops game at Houston. So far, so good a few minutes into the second half.

Our Tommy Atkinson called around to some area high school coaches … Pierria’ Henry is still torn on the basketball/football question. Coach John Messinger said MU has offered football with option to play basketball. Clemson came up to watch him Tuesday, and Henry also visited NC-Charlotte after his official to Marshall.

SC’s Tyler Harris and Moe Makhene are walking on. Woodrow Wilson’s Clinton Van Horn is coming along (I’m betting he has good academic-based aid, seeing his other schools), as is Hurricane’s Tyler Pate.

In the morning, I will be adding background and observation to the signings, as they happen.

Looking at Way to Herd?

A Palm Beach Post blog is predicting Marshall will land Robert Way, but where will Glades Central teammate Davonte Allen go? I have since read he has made up his mind between the Herd and WVU, but is not tipping his hand.

Marshall would get Way over Florida Atlantic, which won’t impress a lot of people. I have the amateur, long-distance good hunch about it, but what do I know?

On the Chevelle Buie watch: He has posted on his Facebook page that he loves both Marshall and ECU and it’s going to come down to a “gut feeling inside of me and God.” He has a signing ceremony at 2 p.m. at Cocoa High, and he may be taking every minute up to it to make the call.

If so, that may be the first time in a year or three the suspense in the MU has lasted past noon. Snyder was particularly good about ending the suspense in a hurry. I personally appreciated it, that’s for sure.

NO Pierria Henry commit (yet)

This isn’t from a source. This is from Henry himself. Although, it must be noted he did not play in his basketball game Saturday so he could take his MU visit. Figure Aaron Dobson hosted him, eh?

In case you are wondering, anybody playing football and basketball (or any sports) on scholarship, you count for football. (It’s commonly known as the “Bear Bryant Rule.”)

Herd-Memphis, live

OK, I’ll spew more goodies during media timeouts, lasting until the end. Or maybe not …

We will have a big crowd if not a sellout. At 23:30, the GA’s are well-populated and that can only get more crowded.

Note: The school wasn’t behind the white-out promotion, and I bloody well don’t endorse it. If you can tell me the last time the Herd won in a white-out, football or basketball, drop me a line. It’s a recipe for an automatic “L”.

Baines… Shaq… Spikes… Pitts… Kane …. Only the deep corners open upstairs… maybe 8k, 8100.

Glow sticks, on the other hand, are damn cool.

HERD 6, MEMPHIS 4 at 15:49: Points will not be easy tonight…. good catch and shoot by Shaq… Both Spikes and Allen have a foul… I think Chevelle Buie hammed it up during the timeout, as students started cheering to the recruits.

HERD 13, MEMPHIS 12 AT 11:33: Kane hit 3 to rile up crowd, but Memphis answers with 6 in a row, including a very strange bucket by Will Barton. Fans wanted traveling, but I think he lost ball and then it bounced into his hands. Wild. Great pass from Kane to Aundra Williams (!) retakes the lead.

HERD 21, MEMPHIS 15 at 7:39: Fans are into it, and Memphis suffered a few turnovers because of it. Shaq and Pena buried 3s. Announcement about a potential whistle in stands (oh, boy).

HERD 28, MEMPHIS 17 AT 6:00: Shaq fires super pass on baseline to Spikes, who dunks. Pastner needs to regroup.

HERD 32, MEMPHIS 17 AT 4:46: Another turnover turned into a Kane dunk at the other end. This isn’t the Memphis team that beat the Herd 2 weeks ago!

HERD 36, MEMPHIS 20 AT 2:33: About an 18-5 run at this point, and Baines is becoming a beast inside again. A prime-time dunk on a Pitts miss, getting way above the cylinder.

HERD 39, MEMPHIS 27 at the half: The Tigers get a 7-1 run, including a 3-point play (awful foul by Higgins) and a 4-point play by D.J. Stephens (awful call by officials). In another bad call, D. Pitts get whistled on a scramble in the corner, but the Herd gets a great when Charles Carmouche clanks the 1-and-1 and Stephens mows over somebody for what could have been a successful tip-in. After a video review, the foul stands and Kane splits the FTs.

GREAT HALF … even on boards, 10 assists on 14 baskets, 17 POINTS OFF 9 MEMPHIS TURNOVERS.

Cause for nervousness: The break gives all those freshmen a chance to settle down. And the Herd has been drought-prone. Let’s see.

This is special: The guy who whistled (without a whistle), had a chat about it with the refs, over my right shoulder. The refs told him they don’t care … you can’t do it. And you can’t.

HERD 44, MEMPHIS 32 at 17:06: Crowd is 7,614 … stretch-out factor upstairs, I guess. Pitts gets lucky break on bad lob, throws it to Kane for 3.

HERD 47, MEMPHIS 35 AT 15:54: Pitts hits a 3 in a pure matter of making something out of a shaky possession. Then Orlando Allen rejects Will Barton at the other end. Herd ball.

Another thing: The Big Green forked over a check for $2.934 million to the athletic dept., which I am sure is a record.

HERD 55, MEMPHIS 39 AT 11:54: Aundra Williams has tapped two entry passes away and Dago Pena buried, a big, big, big, big 3. I must give it up for the Herd defense to this point!

HERD 62, MEMPHIS 57 at 7:48: Herrion needs timeout after Memphis scores 6 in a row, 4 on fastbreaks. Pitts has four fouls.

HERD 66, MEMPHIS 59 AT 6:47: Baines has stopped the bleeding, first with a 17-footer and then by getting open down low. Tigers at the line when we return … it’s white-knuckle time again.

HERD 76, MEMPHIS 62 AT 3:39: FOUR “and-ones” in a row! Shame two of them came with missed FTs, but what the heck. After making first 10 FTs, Tigers are 3-for-8. Oh, yeah, Pitts has *watched* all this!

HERD 80, MEMPHIS 64 AT 1:40: It’s over… and UCF lost. A great night to be a Herd fan.

HERD 84, MEMPHIS 64 AT 48.7: The walk-ons are in!

HERD 85, MEMPHIS 65 AT 35.2: No, really, the Herd has the walk-ons in against Memphis.

85-70 final score! Big win!

Memphis-UCF game, Big East

Time to take another long, long look at the Memphis Tigers, who started their 4-game win streak 2 weeks ago against the Herd. As you probably know, they let Central Florida have it Wednesday night.

Geoff Calkins further chimes in about the Tigers’ about-face. I found it even more interesting to see what Geoff wrote a day after the first Herd-Memphis game.

The game story from the Orlando Sentinel.

And speaking of the Sentinel, it is trying to write the Knights into the Big East. Mike Bianchi asks if South Florida is blocking UCF’s way into the Big East.

Ummmmm … I don’t think USF is throwing a roadblock, I am *assuming* it. Betcha USF officials were the biggest advocates of TCU getting the latest Big East invite. Betcha they want Houston along for the ride, if Villanova doesn’t roll the dice and ramp up football. Here’s another telling story, which almost puts me in UCF’s corner.

Frankly, I thought TCU’s invitation was a cold, hard slap in UCF’s face. I plead guilty to snickering.

C-USA players of the week

Bad news for Herd fans, as their team got “POW”ed for the first time in C-USA play, the second time this year. The other time came when Denzel Bowles won the Colonial Athletic Association honor for going 34/13 against Marshall on Dec. 22 or thereabouts.

Between Bowles’ performance and that of Darrius Morrow last weekend, you have to wonder what the Herd centers can do with the second co-player of the week listed below.

CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
JONTAE SHERROD, EAST CAROLINA
Senior, G, Tarboro, N.C.
Sherrod led the Pirates to a 2-1 record last week, which included a pair
of road wins at UCF and Marshall. He averaged 18.7 ppg and led the
Pirates in scoring with 21 points against UCF, as ECU handed the Knights
their first home loss of the season, 74-62, on Wednesday. Sherrod also
scored a team-high 16 points against UAB in the first game of the week
on Monday. Sherrod recorded career-highs for rebounds in consecutive
games, first with eight against UAB and then bested that with nine at
UCF. The senior guard tied his career-high with five three-point field
goals made as the Pirates defeated Marshall, 82-81, on Saturday. Sherrod
became the 14th player in school history to make 100 career three-point
field goals. This is the first C-USA Player of the Week honor of his
career.

PAPA DIA, SMU
Senior, F, St. Louis, Senegal
Dia averaged 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in games against
UAB and Southern Miss to repeat as C-USA Player of the Week. Dia tallied
23 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and was 10-of-10 on field goals in
the 79-65 win over Southern Miss Saturday. He became just the second
player in C-USA history to record 10 made field goals without a miss. In
the second half, Dia went 7-of-7 from the floor to total 17 points, six
rebounds and two blocks as SMU pulled away. SMU shot 69.8 percent from
the floor against the Golden Eagles, a performance that ranks second in
SMU history and second by any C-USA team in a conference game. At UAB on
Wednesday, Dia had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks as he tallied
his fourth straight double-double. This is his third C-USA Player of the
Week honor this season and for his career.

Whole bunch of post-Herd-ECU thoughts

After seeing Doug Legursky help the Steelers to the Super Bowl (with some bumpy spots, to be sure), a few thoughts about Marshall’s wrenching loss to East Carolina:

— It struck me that coach Herrion was more disgusted about the defense than the foul shooting. The Herd could have won with better foul shooting down the stretch, but that probably shouldn’t have mattered.

Once again, the three-headed center position racks up the fouls and not much else. The count from Nigel Spikes, Orlando Allen and Aundra Williams: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 14 fouls. That, and allowing Darrius Morrow to go 11-17 FG, 11-21 FT, 33 points.

You could second-guess defensive strategy a little, I guess. I would like to see the Herd sneak a little guy in on the double team, though Morrow wasn’t bad handling the ball. You could have had Baines try to front Morrow. Another fan suggested Herrion play a zone to protect the big men.

First, Herrion isn’t much of a zone fan. You knew that. But the biggest problem of any of the above suggestions is ECU’s 3-point shooting prowess. Baines had to guard the perimeter and somebody (often Shaq Johnson) has to try to get on Jontae Sherrod, who will let it fly from 25 feet, even longer.

When you consider all that, the big men had to defend and they flunked.

— Foul totals for those three in C-USA games: 15 in 71 minutes for Spikes, 7 in 38 minutes for Williams, 15 in *42* minutes for Allen. This issue is not going away.

— As I suspected, this team will really, really, really miss Johnny Thomas. He had really blossomed into the team’s best shoot/penetrate/defend/rebound man and the Herd can’t replace all that with one man.

— ECU coach Jeff Lebo said his team is playing more zone in recent games, and it works for them. DeAndre Kane and Shaq were rendered invisible in the second half, going a combined 0-for-5. Only Tirrell Baines (5-6 FG, 7-9 FT, 17 points) halfway knew what to do against that defense, and Dago Pena hit three 3-pointers. Pena played just 9 minutes in that half, but you know his defensive issues.

— Failure to penetrate on the ECU zone had another side effect: Morrow didn’t foul out despite committing his fourth at the 6:48 mark. He was taken out at that point, but re-entered with 5:16 left and didn’t come out again. That, my friends, really hurt.

— 9-of-19 FT shooting in the second half … sigh. One stat of note: Pitts didn’t attempt an FT in that half.

— The Herd doesn’t see an opponent under .500 in C-USA play until Feb. 16, when Rice visits. On deck is @UAB, Memphis, @Houston, @Southern Miss, UAB and @East Carolina. That adds up to 67-34 overall, 19-12 in league play.

And remember, Rice just won against that hard-luck (cough, cough) bunch at Central Florida. At Orlando.

Buckle up kids — another bumpy ride ahead. Did you expect anything different?

Award for Deon Meadows

This linebacker is coming highly decorated, if nothing else … could be a pretty good catch.