Pirates head to Huntington to face Herd
East Carolina will be playing its fourth game in eight days
After capturing the biggest win of the Jeff Lebo era with Wednesday's 74-62 victory at UCF, East Carolina will attempt to handle the unusual success on Saturday when it travels to Huntington, WV to face first-year coach Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd.
The Pirates (10-8, 2-2) led nearly wire-to-wire in Orlando and were up by as many as 17 points in the second half against the Knights--who were previously 10-0 at UCF Arena.
Marshall (13-5, 1-2) is coming off a 75-71 upset of No. 21 West Virginia in the Capital City Classic in Charleston. The Herd is coached by Tom Herrion, who is the brother of former East Carolina coach Bill Herrion (1999-2005). It is Herrion's first-season in Huntington.
Damier Pitts, a junior guard from Charlotte, leads Marshall's guard-oriented offense with his 16.4 per game mark. He tied his career-high with 25 in the win over West Virginia on Wednesday.
DeAndre Kane, Tirrell Baines, and Shaquille Johnson also score in double figures for the Herd. Kane, who averages 15.2 points per contest, has made the second most three-pointers on the team. Baines produces 12.6 points and 7.3 boards while Johnson yields 10.2 per game. Dago Pena has knocked down a team-high 29 trifectas.
Marshall is averaging just over 75 points per game while limiting its opponents to less than 40 percent from the floor. The Herd has shot 130 more free throws than its opponents and hold nearly a five rebound advantage on the glass.
East Carolina has been led by senior shooting guard Jontae Sherrod. Sherrod, who averages 14.6 points per game, is coming off a 21-point effort at UCF on Wednesday. He shoots 42.7 percent from beyond the arc and has made a team-high 41 trifectas. Junior power forward Darrius Morrow and senior swingman Jamar Abrams each average 10.8 for the Pirates. Morrow is the team's top rebounder with 5.4 per contest while Abrams is second on the team with his 42 percent mark from deep.
Each club is coming off its biggest win of the season. Which team will handle success the best? Marshall is very tough to beat at the Cam Henderson Center. The Herd is 9-1 at home this season with their lone loss being a 69-68 setback to Chattanooga back on November 20. The Pirates suffered a humiliating 100-49 beatdown in Huntington last season. The Herd's lone league win was a 95-65 drubbing of Southern Miss on January 8th.
Expect East Carolina to compete, as they have in every road game to date, and for this game to be played in the mid to upper 60's between two pretty strong defensive clubs.