HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - It took a few minutes for all those newcomers on the Marshall basketball team to settle in and find their rhythm Thursday night in their first public appearance.When they did, they put on a pretty good show in an intrasquad scrimmage. The 2,000 or so at Cam Henderson Center got to see gems like these:Chris Thomas driving straight down the middle to dunk on anybody who dared to get in his way;Kareem Canty pulling a ridiculous crossover, followed by spin move at the bucket that had Shawn Smith frozen, wondering what to do;
Smith flying down the baseline to dunk a high but perfect Thomas pass;Ryan Taylor flying from the ceiling - or so it seemed - to catch a Tamron Manning miss and throw it down hard;And the final highlight, Canty's perfect alley-oop to DeVince Boykins, who laid it off the glass at the buzzer to give the Black team a 69-68 win over the Green team.
"The lights come on and the fans are in the seats, it's different," said Herd coach Tom Herrion. "It's not a real game, but it's a different feeling in their bodies, the adrenaline. I thought we settled in a little bit, and we had a lot of good things."
Herrion set up the scrimmage with a 20-minute first half with "media" timeouts and a 12-minute second half, also with several timeouts. Some players switched sides a few times.Elijah Pittman scored 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, though he did clank a shot down the stretch. He was 4 of 6 from 3-point range, as both sides combined to go 14 of 35 from beyond the arc. He was unstoppable at times, giving his Black side at 13-point lead at one point."It's something I work on. There's nothing I don't do," Pittman said. "I'm known as a shooter, but you've got to stay consistent with it."Canty and Taylor both had double-doubles in differing ways - Canty 16 points and 12 assists and Taylor 19 points and 10 rebounds. Canty had four turnovers and was 6 of 13 shooting, but threw some eye-popping passes.
Thomas had 16 points and six assists and Cheik Sane scored 14 on 6-of-9 shooting inside. The 6-foot-9 native of Senegal showed good moves and a good shooting touch, on or off balance.He did commit six fouls, but that was allowed. Sort of."He's got a good jump hook, both hands," Herrion said. "A couple of them didn't go in, but he's going to be a good player for us. Very physical in his nature; we'll adjust and correct some of the fouling."
Continuing a 2012-13 theme, free-throw shooting was suspect, 17 of 28. The second-half number was 6 of 13, including Smith's miss for the Green team at the end.The sides combined to hit an even 50 percent from the floor, committing 16 turnovers. There were six steals, a bit low for Herrion's liking.But he knows his squad has a long way to go and about three weeks to get there."I think the tempo was really good for us. We want to play faster, we showed that," he said. "Defensively, I thought we were tired; I didn't like our defense overall. We'll correct that, starting again tomorrow, but then again, we were playing fatigued guys."You're trying to play a high-tempo game and press, extend the floor, but you're not subbing. It kind of contradicts itself."The Herd plays an exhibition Oct. 28 against Concord, then begins the regular season on Nov. 8 against South Carolina State. Tipoff time both nights at Cam Henderson Center is 7 p.m.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.