HUNTINGTON — A father has to do what a father has to do.
Sure, Marshall’s Mike Beyers wasn’t having much of a season. In fact, the 6-foot-9 junior had fallen so far by the wayside, Beyers didn’t even play in three of the Herd’s previous five games.
Yet did that stop his father — also named Mike — from flying in from Houston to watch his son play against Louisiana Tech on Saturday night?
Of course not.
A father’s love is relentless.
That’s why it was so heartwarming to watch this particular father to be so richly rewarded for his devotion.
With his dad sitting in the Cam Henderson Center stands, Beyers had the biggest day of his entire basketball career, pouring in 24 points off the bench to spark Marshall to a vital 83-79 overtime win.
“My dad was here … he got to see the game,” said the younger Beyers, wearing a smile that split his face.
What a divine twist of fate.
The elder Beyers got to witness his son score a career-high 24 points by hitting 8 of 11 field goal attempts, including a scintillating 6 of 9 from 3-point range in 28 minutes of action.
Better still, his father watched Beyers make a turnaround fall-away jumper from about 8 feet out on the right baseline with 5.3 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
“I saw the ball was coming short,” said Beyers, describing the play. “I didn’t know how much time was left. Actually, I practice that shot a lot. The coaches don’t like it much, but I do.”
Uh, my guess is MU’s coaching staff won’t mind anymore. Right, Danny D’Antoni?
“Beyers has been in the closet,” said D’Antoni with a smile. “He poked his head out tonight and said, ‘Hey, I can make some shots.’ That’s the Mike Beyers we recruited.
“I put Mike in the game and had my fingers crossed. He stayed within his game. And I was smart enough not to take him out.”
Twenty-eight minutes later, Marshall had a very important win.
“Coach Dan told Mike that he hadn’t given up on him,” said point guard Jarrod West, who scored a game-high 25 points. “This is a huge confidence builder for Mike. He did what he needed to do.”
Namely, shoot the open 3-pointer.
“I think he passed on some 3s,” said West. “I wanted him to shoot some more. Mike hit that fadeaway to give us a chance.”
To Marshall’s credit, the Herd made the most of that opportunity. Marshall outscored LA Tech 15-11 in overtime to even its Conference USA record at 6-6.
“To be able to get gut out a win against a top team in Conference USA,” said West, “that’s a big confidence builder for us.”
That’s particularly true considering 6-9, 300-pound center Iran Bennett was so foul-plagued, he didn’t score a single point before fouling out.
Marshall also survived a brutal 8 of 18 shooting night at the foul line.
“That was a roller-coaster,” said D’Antoni. “But you have to appreciate how hard they play and how much they care. It’s fun being in the roller-coaster and riding with these kids.
“I was happy for Mike.”
It was a night to remember for both Mike Beyers, father and son. They never will forget it. Nor should they.
What a memory.
Who says Father’s Day has to be in June?