HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall kicked off the men’s basketball season with its annual Thundering Herd Madness Friday inside the Cam Henderson Center.
The event gave fans a chance to see the Herd on the court for the first time since its successful run to the NIT last season. The team held its first official practice earlier in the afternoon which gave Marshall a chance to let loose and have fun in front of 4,073 fans.
“I don’t want them (the fans) to be disappointed in our lack of intensity,” said head coach Tom Herrion. “We already had practice today. It was a great opportunity for them to lay eyes on our squad this evening. We have a great group of guys who are very talented and have a chance to be a really good team at some point this season.”
The team was introduced one-by-one with fog and a spotlight on the east end of the building. After a Herrion-led “We Are… Marshall” chant, the event was in full swing.
Every player was involved and it started with Yous Mbao and JP Kambola in a dribbling race after spinning around 10 times. Both big men did not make it very far without hitting the hardwood. Two fans then took a shot from where they landed for a chance at $500. Both missed, but in consolation, went home with a gift card.
DeAndre Kane and D.D. Scarver won the two-ball competition and in the dunk contest it was Robert Goff with the win over Elijah Pittman in finals.
Pittman was the first to participate in the dance competition. Each player took their turn at mid-court before all joining in, dancing to “The Wobble.”
“We play harder than we dance,” Herrion told the crowd.
Marshall’s run to the NIT last season, the first time in 24 years, did not go unnoticed Friday. The date “2012” was added as the fifth date on the NIT banner which hangs in the rafters.
“It’s been a long time between 1988 and 2012,” Herrion reminded fans.
A 15-minute, continuous clock scrimmage concluded the event. The game was tied 37-37 with one minute left until Herrion stopped play to insert redshirt freshman DeVince Boykins, who is recovering from an injured right knee. All he had to do was make one free throw and the green team would get the win. He missed the first, but with a lane violation, generously granted by Herrion, was given another opportunity. The second attempt missed as well and the game ended in a 37-37 tie.
For the green team, Jamir Hanner had 12 points, Pittman had nine and Kareem Canty finished with eight. Dennis Tinnon led the white team with 11 points. Goff finished with 10 while Chris Martin had eight.
Marshall will take on a team wearing a different uniform for the first time on Oct. 29 as the Herd hosts Bluefield College in an exhibition at 7 p.m.
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