HUNTINGTON — On Saturday afternoon, Marshall basketball fans were treated to a showcase of high-energy guards who like to get after it.
Marshall’s Jarrod West notched a career-high 29 points while matching with Middle Tennessee’s Jalen Jordan, who finished with 25, in the Thundering Herd’s 96-85 win over the Blue Raiders at the Cam Henderson Center.
For West, it wasn’t just about the high level of play that was brought to the court. Instead, there were a lot of qualities in Jordan that can also be seen in West, which made the battle fun.
After Marshall’s 28-point win on Friday, Middle Tennessee came in looking to get in the Herd’s head early, so banter started quickly, which only got West going that much more.
“I don’t mind to get into a little talking match or a little chatter here and there — a little in-game competition, honestly,” West said. “As long as it doesn’t affect your game and mentally you can stay solid, I feel like that’s the most important thing.”
West was quick to point out that it wasn’t anything malicious in trash talk — just good competitive talk with each being the driving force of his team.
After the Herd’s 11-point win was completed, the two met near mid-court and congratulated each other on big-time performances.
West averaged 22 points and seven assists in the two games while Jordan, who came in averaging just under seven points per game, set his season high in back-to-back games with 22 on Friday and 25 on Saturday.
“Listen, man, this dude went 9 for 11 from the field, 7 for 7 from 3,” West said. “I mean, you can’t really get a better game than that, so I’ve got to give him credit. He’s a good player and he’s a good guy, too. We were kind of talking a little during the game and messing with each other, but I like the competition and I like the challenge.”
One key aspect from Jordan that was visible was his on-court leadership.
When Marshall started to make a run to pull away in the second half, Jordan noticed that teammates on the bench were getting quiet and yelled at them from the floor to crank it up in support of the team.
He followed with a 3-pointer and a pair of assists for a quick 8-0 run that got the Blue Raiders back within striking distance.
At a time where college basketball is a different atmosphere with fewer fans and a sporadic schedule, West said the influx of energy that guys like he and Jordan bring to the court are big.
“Without the fans and energy that we’re used to having — even though they bring the best energy they can — I think it makes the game a little more fun and a little more energetic,” West said. “It was fun.”