— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall basketball coach Dan D’Antoni is looking for improvement from his squad when it hosts the University of Pikeville (Ky.) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in an exhibition game from the Cam Henderson Center.
The game will serve as the final warmup prior to Marshall’s regular season opener Monday night in Charlotte, North Carolina against Queens University.
Marshall had little trouble defeating the University of Charleston in its first exhibition game last Friday as the Herd claimed a 92-66 win over the Golden Eagles, a Division II program of the Mountain East Conference.
Charleston stayed close with the Herd until late in the first half. D’Antoni hopes slow starts become a thing of the past for his squad.
“We were lazy and didn’t get up into them defensively and that led to a slow start,” D’Antoni said. “We allowed them to shoot around 60 percent in the first 12 minutes, but we finally turned the heat up on them the rest of the half.”
Junior guard Andrew Taylor led Marshall with 29 points, while senior Taevion Kinsey scored 20. Sophomore Obinna Anochili-Killen added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Seven-foot-1 freshman center Micah Handlogten also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow freshman Jacob Conner scored 10 points in his first action in a Marshall uniform.
D’Antoni will look for improvement in the Herd’s perimeter shooting after MU shot 8 of 27 on triples Friday. VMI transfer Kamdyn Curfman, who shot 40 percent on 3-pointers last season, was 1 for 9 from the field, with every attempt coming from beyond the arc against Charleston.
Pikeville already has a regular-season game under its belt from Sunday as the Bears defeated Virginia University of Lynchburg, 95-57.
Teddy Parham Jr. scored 20 points to lead six Bears in double figures. One of those double-figure scorers was Devin Collins, who transferred to Pikeville from Marshall after last season. Collins, who starred at Chapmanville High School, scored 11 points in the win.
UPike is led by head coach Tigh Compton, who is in his third season. Compton led the Bears to a 17-13 record last season. He took the job after longtime head coach Kelly Wells became UPike’s athletic director.
The Bears compete at the NAIA level as a member of the Mid-South Conference.