HUNTINGTON — During Tuesday’s practice, Marshall men’s basketball coach Dan D’Antoni was as pointed toward intricate details as ever.
Anytime he saw something amiss, he stopped practice to point out the mistakes.
“I don’t like to harp at y’all,” D’Antoni yelled. “These next three games, they are all tough.”
That run starts with Thursday’s 7 p.m. contest against Campbell, an upstart team that has shown plenty of promise in the early portion of the season.
Campbell comes into Cam Henderson Center at 2-1 overall, with the only loss being a 67-56 loss at No. 9 Duke in which the Fighting Camels trailed by just one point with 13 minutes left.
Much of D’Antoni’s words were geared toward the defensive end of the floor in preparation for Campbell. That came in part because the Fighting Camels had just nine turnovers against Duke, which helped them stay in it.
Marshall’s ball-handling on Monday in its win over Milligan wasn’t to D’Antoni’s liking, so the message was for things to get cleaned up, especially on interior passes.
Marshall’s Taevion Kinsey, a preseason Jerry West Award nominee, continues to live up to his hype, producing 20-point efforts in each of the first two games. The Herd’s Andrew Taylor has also been a big presence in several statistical categories from his guard position.
Marshall has also gotten big contributions from Marko Sarenac and Obinna Anochili-Killen in the first two games, giving the Herd a solid nucleus to face a talented Campbell squad.
Prior to the Duke loss, the Fighting Camels started their weekend at Duke’s multi-team event with a 68-67 comeback win over Hartford in which the team placed five in double-figure scoring.
Post player Cedric Henderson is a big test for the Herd, along with guards Ricky Clemons and Jordan Whitfield, who will attack the hoop.
Henderson had 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Blue Devils while Clemons also scored 18.
One key for the Herd has been the team defensive aspect, which has produced 19 blocks in two games. Anochili-Killen leads the way with nine.
While the blocks were a good sign for the Herd, D’Antoni was not entirely pleased with Milligan’s ability to get to the rim for shots on Monday night.
“We led them to the basket too much,” D’Antoni said. “They got into the lane way too often.”
This is the third of five straight home games for the Herd to start the year.
Following Thursday’s game, Marshall hosts Jackson State at 4 p.m. Sunday in a game time that was switched due to MU’s NCAA men’s soccer tournament match at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Marshall’s last game of its opening home stand comes against Louisiana at 7 p.m. Tuesday.