HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – With a chance to hone its skills early in the season, the Marshall men’s basketball team downed NAIA member Rio Grande, 119-77, on Tuesday night at Cam Henderson Center.
The win keeps the Thundering Herd unbeaten as Marshall is now 2-0, with its win bringing the Red Storm’s record to 2-1 on the year.
Wasting no time early on, the Herd opened the game with a 27-4 run to get its offense in rhythm while the defense buckled down on the Rio Grande offense. Marshall did not allow Rio Grande to convert a field goal for a span of 8:53 in the early part of the game, allowing the Herd to seize control and never look back.
Just days after his first collegiate appearance, freshman guard Kareem Canty (Harlem, N.Y.) made his presence felt even more as he recorded his first career double-double on 18 points and 11 assists while commanding the Marshall offense from the point.
Another Herd freshman made an impact as Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) recorded his first career points on a kick out three in the waning moments of the first half. His conversion from long range got the home crowd on its feet heading into the break with Marshall leading 65-38. The Herd’s 65 first-half points tied for the 8th most in Marshall program history.
When the second half began, Marshall seemed focused on putting the Red Storm away and removing any chance for Rio Grande to make a run and close the deficit. Senior forward Elijah Pittman (Covington, Ky.) started the second half with a flurry of points to keep the Herd offense in motion. Pittman, named a Conference USA Co-Player of the Week on Nov. 11, finished the game with 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting to lead the Herd in scoring for the second-straight game this season.
An even offensive balance from seven Marshall players, which scored in double figures helped Marshall cruise to a win until the final buzzer sounded.
Loop finished the game with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Fellow freshman Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored 15 points and pulled in nine rebounds to lead the Marshall on the glass and junior Shawn Smith (Sacramento, Calif.) added 11 points of his own.
A pair of sophomores rounded out the group of double-figure scorers as Chris Thomas (Denver) recorded 15 points and Tamron Manning (Georgetown, Ky.) scored 11 to help Marshall keep an even offensive distribution in its 119-77 victory.
Marshall remained unbeaten in its series with Rio Grande as the Herd has now won all 15 contests against the Red Storm dating back to 1921.
The Herd will play its first road contest of the season, but will not travel far. Marshall will take on Morehead State on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.