HUNTINGTON — Marshall sophomore guard Taevion Kinsey didn’t care what he had to do on Thursday night.
Kinsey just knew one thing: He was sick of losing.
As it turned out, Kinsey did a bit of everything to lead Marshall to a 91-63 win over Howard in front of 5,343 fans at Cam Henderson Center.
Kinsey finished with 14 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds in the win. He got those numbers on 7-of-8 shooting and had just one turnover.
“I feel like that’s how we’ve got to play every game instead of just this game,” Kinsey said. “We needed this one. We’ve got a break coming up this weekend for guys to relax, but it’s always good to go into your break knowing that you came off a win. I feel like we’re starting to jell a little bit more each and every game.”
It was part of a performance in which Kinsey and fellow guard Jarrod West continuously put pressure on the Howard guards, which forced help-side defense from post players.
Kinsey and West routinely were able to kick for open looks en route to a 58 percent shooting performance for the Herd. West also had 11 points and six assists.
“I thought we handled pick-and-rolls better,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We worked on it for a couple days and showed film on it. I thought Taevion came out and really took the coaching.”
Kinsey led an increased intensity early that propelled the Herd to a 47-27 halftime lead.
Marshall consistently got into its early offense off Howard misses with Kinsey using his athleticism to push tempo and vision to find Marshall players before the Bison could get set to start a big run that led the Herd to a sizable advantage.
The Herd went on a 23-4 run over a six-minute stretch, which started with back-to-back dunks by Kinsey and ended with Jannson Williams and Iran Bennett getting into a flow.
“We started seeing that, early, guys were hitting and things were flowing,” Kinsey said.
Bennett finished with a career-high 17 points while Williams added 13 of his 15 in the first half as well to aid the balanced effort.
“It was fun out there tonight,” Bennett said. “We had a lot of fun and played really hard.”
Williams’ scoring started with a dunk and he used that to find his range from the outside as well, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first half.
Despite only having the two field goals on dunks, Kinsey was the catalyst for the Herd with eight first-half assists, setting his career-high in the first 20 minutes.
Williams said the performance by Kinsey was one of the more special performances he’s seen.
“Managing to have 14 points and have 14 assists, that’s almost unheard of,” Williams said. “Two blocks, one steal,” Bennett added.
“He played all around tonight and we needed that,” Williams said.
Marshall eclipsed its single-game high for assists in the first half with 15. The previous high was 11 against Robert Morris and Notre Dame.
Marshall now has momentum as it heads into a week-long break prior to a Nov. 29 matchup at Florida.