HUNTINGTON — Marshall senior Taevion Kinsey wanted to make sure the 100th start of his Thundering Herd career was a special one.
As it turned out, the freshmen made sure to make it special for Kinsey, too.
Kinsey scored 28 points to lead the way and the Herd got big contributions out of its freshman trio in a 91-65 win over Tennessee Tech in front of 4,240 fans at Cam Henderson Center on Monday night.
“It’s always great to win in front of the home team,” Kinsey said. “We appreciate all the fans that we’ve got out here, especially with the fountain ceremony happening today. We got a pretty good turnout and I think we played good for the team.”
In its last contest against an undersized team, Marshall’s men’s basketball team got out-hustled to rebounds in a season-opening 83-82 loss to Queens on Nov. 7.
The Herd’s freshmen made sure that didn’t happen again.
Micah Handlogten, Wyatt Fricks and Jacob Conner all did a good job on the glass, which led to extra opportunities in the win.
Handlogten had eight points and eight rebounds while Conner and Fricks each had seven points and eight rebounds to account for half of Marshall’s rebounds en route to a 48-30 rebounding edge.
Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni was impressed with their performance in their first regular-season home game in a Marshall uniform.
“I think the biggest thing is that they bring a real mentality to the game,” D’Antoni said. “They understand the game. They’ve got it figured out and they do the little things that you may not see as a spectator and I don’t see until I get back to film the next day, but you can see the little [nuances] that they have with each other.”
In addition to Kinsey’s 100th start, Andrew Taylor added his own milestone to the evening, notching his 1,000th point with 8:05 left to become the 56th Marshall player in history to reach the plateau.
Taylor finished with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win as he and Kinsey shared in a memorable milestone night.
“It just feels really good, honestly,” Taylor said of the team’s offensive performance. “We knew what we needed to do, especially after Queens. That was a really tough loss by one point and it felt good to get a win and get back on track at home.”
For the second straight game, D’Antoni felt like the offense had a good flow and the numbers showed as such.
Marshall finished with 28 assists and just 10 turnovers while turning it up a notch in the second half, finishing at 50 percent or better from the field and 3-point range.
“That’s what I took away from that first game,” D’Antoni said. “Even though we got beat [by Queens], we had a rhythm, and they seemed to be able to play and mesh together, and everybody has their roles and they understand them. We got to see them a little bit better today.”
Marshall set the tone early with four of its first five baskets being dunks before using its size and hustle to crash the glass for 13 offensive rebounds, which was one fewer total rebound than the Golden Eagles had in the first 20 minutes.
On one possession, the duo grabbed three of four offensive rebounds — the last coming from Conner, who kicked out to Kinsey for a 3-pointer that was part of a 10-0 run in which the Herd took control of the game.
Kinsey scored eight points during that run and had 14 of his 28 in the first half with many finishes coming at the rim.
“We just have to come out and be aggressive every night,” Kinsey said.
Marshall finished with 46 points in the paint and never trailed in the win.
Jaylen Sebree led Tennessee Tech with 14 points while Jayvis Harvey added 13 in the loss.
Marshall returns to action at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Miami (Ohio).