HUNTINGTON — It took a few minutes for Marshall to find its range on its home floor on Friday.
Given that it had been nearly a month since the Thundering Herd played a home game, perhaps it was to be expected.
Once Marshall got familiar with its surroundings again, though, the Herd felt plenty comfortable at Cam Henderson Center.
On a day when Jannson Williams set the all-time blocks record at Marshall, the Herd put up its first 100-point game in regulation since January 2019 en route to a 107-79 win over Middle Tennessee.
The irony was the Herd’s top offensive performance of the season came after an opening five-minute stretch that was among its worst of the year.
“Basketball is funny, competing is funny,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Sometimes things just are what they are. You think they’re ready, they think they’re ready. We had good practices. We walked out and stepped on our foot. One thing that’s good about this group is they all pull together and they all stay at it. Once that happened, then we started getting to the rim with layups on the pick-and-roll and, obviously, we shot the lights out.”
Taevion Kinsey led the way with 25 points while Andrew Taylor and Jarrod West added 16 and 15 points, respectively, while each contributed eight assists in the win for Marshall (11-5, 5-4 C-USA).
David Early came off the bench to finish with a career-high 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers late in isolation to get the Herd over the century mark.
For the second straight game, Marshall set its season high for 3-pointers in a game. This one was a bit more special, however, given Middle Tennessee’s prowess against the outside shot.
The Blue Raiders came into Huntington ranked 12th nationally in 3-point defense, allowing just 28.4% from the outside.
Once Marshall got momentum, the bench also did its part to keep it moving with the entire lineup contributing. Marshall got 41 points off the bench in the win, led by Early’s 15.
“Everybody that was coming off the bench was making us better and contributing to the team,” D’Antoni said.
Marshall shot 59% for the game and 55% from 3-point range while finishing with 23 assists and eight turnovers.
What makes the assist-to-turnover ratio more impressive is that five of those turnovers occurred during that opening five-minute stretch before Marshall even had a basket.
After spotting Middle Tennessee a big lead, Marshall took a 45-37 lead into the locker room after finding its groove in the latter part of the first half.
Over the last 15 minutes of play, Marshall hit 17 of its final 25 shots and had just one turnover in producing the halftime lead.
As Marshall started its comeback, history was made as Williams collected the 183rd block of his Herd career at the 13:00 mark, moving him past Hassan Whiteside into the No. 1 spot all-time in career blocks.
Williams didn’t have all that much time to celebrate the block at the time due to Marshall’s deficit, but said it was a special moment.
“I was in the game and didn’t realize it,” Williams said. “I was definitely hunting it, though. It was on my mind. It was good to see my family all excited. It’s a blessing.”
Middle Tennessee (5-12, 3-8 C-USA) was led by Jalen Jordan, who finished with 22 points. Jordan Davis added 13 points.
Eli Lawrence chipped in 10 off the bench.
Marshall and Middle Tennessee end their two-game series at 4 p.m. Saturday in Huntington.