HUNTINGTON — Nobody saw it coming.
Not even veteran Marshall University head coach Danny D’Antoni.
Yet, the startling truth of the matter is the 2021-22 edition of the Thundering Herd is the worst 3-point shooting team in D’Antoni’s eight-year tenure.
Color me shocked.
I honestly believed this Marshall squad had a chance to be D’Antoni’s best 3-point shooting team.
“So did I,” said D’Antoni.
Instead, it was more of the same as Northern Iowa embarrassed Marshall 75-60 Saturday before 3,849 disappointed fans in the Cam Henderson Center.
If it weren’t for Obinna Anochili-Killen’s career high 3-for-3 shooting performance from behind the arc during the first half, MU would have shot a miserable 4 of 16 — only 25.0% — on 3-pointers.
Unfortunately for Marshall, that has become the norm during the Herd’s 13 games.
There was a 12.5% 3-point shooting performance against Campbell, followed by only 23.5% vs. Jackson State. MU did respond with an 11-for-23 3-point shooting performance (47.8%) in a loss to Akron, but that was short-lived.
It was followed by 6 for 26 (23.6%) against Duquesne, 9 for 32 (28.1%) vs. Bluefield, 5 for 21 (23.8%) at Eastern Kentucky, 9 for 28 (32.1%) at Ohio and 8 or 28 (28.6%) vs. Northern Iowa.
Ready for the ugly math?
Marshall has connected on just 85 of 296 shots from behind the arc for only 28.7% shooting.
Permit me to repeat that: 28.7%.
Know where that ranks during D’Antoni’s tenure? Last. Dead last. The previous low was during the 2019-20 season, when MU made only 245 of 783 3-point attempts, 31.3%. Just slightly higher was a 31.6% shooting performance during D’Antoni’s very first season in 2014-15.
MU’s best 3-point shooting team was 2016-17. The Herd connected on 356 of 962 treys for a 37.0% clip.
The 2020-21 squad shot at a robust 36.0% clip by making 204 of 567 3-pointers (9.3 per game).
The 2017-18 edition of the Herd was close behind with 35.8% shooting (362 for 1,012).
One of the most prolific 3-point shooting teams was in 2018-19 when Marshall averaged 9.9 treys per game. Overall, it was 345 of 1,015 for 34.0%.
That leaves only the 2015-16 squad that hit 332 of 985 threes for 33.7%.
So where does that leave a team that can’t seem to shoot straight? Good question. Unfortunately, there are very few good answers.
At times, it’s like the wheels just suddenly come off. Against Northern Iowa, for example, MU was a very decent 7 for 19 from behind the arc for 36.8% and held a 36-34 halftime lead.
But in the second half? The Herd was a miserable 1 for 9 on 3s for 11.1%. The only MU player to hit a 3-pointer in the second half was Jeremy Dillon, who was 2 for 3.
That speaks volumes.
“We can’t have the stats lines of Taevion [Kinsey] and Andy [Taylor],” D’Antoni said. “Their stats lines have to be at a higher level.
Kinsey was only 2 of 9 from the floor, including 1 of 6 on 3s with two turnovers and only one assist. Taylor was 4 of 11 but only 1 of 5 on 3s. He had five assists but six turnovers.
“Our three guards [Kinsey, Taylor and David Early] were 3 of 15 on 3s,” pointed out D’Antoni.
If MU doesn’t improve, it will be known as the worst shooting team in D’Antoni’s career.