By Bill Cornwell
Two teams possibly playing their best basketball of the season face off Wednesday night as old rivals Marshall and Ohio play in Athens, Ohio.
The game tips off at 7 at Ohio’s Convocation Center and will be shown on ESPN+.
Marshall (7-3) is coming off an 80-68 win at Eastern Kentucky on Saturday night, while the Bobcats (7-2) won on Saturday at Stetson 55-45.
Marshall has won three straight games and Ohio has won four of its last five contests.
The Herd and Bobcats have met 105 times in the past and Ohio leads the all-time series 56-49. Last season, Marshall came away with an 81-67 win over Ohio in a game played in Huntington.
Ohio is led by Head Coach Jeff Boals, a Bobcat alumnus who is in his second year with the Bobcats. He has a 40-25 record as Ohio head coach, 96-67 overall. Boals also spent four seasons as an assistant at Marshall (1999-2003), working under former MU Head Coach Greg White.
Dan D’Antoni is in his 8th season as head coach at Marshall and the MU alumnus has an all-time record of 135-102.
The Bobcats have picked up wins so far this season over solid teams in Belmont and Cleveland State and dropped road contests against two Southeastern Conference opponents, Kentucky (77-59) and LSU (66-51).
The Bobcats are led by sophomore guard Mark Sears, who is averaging 16.2 points per game. Two other Ohio players score in double figures….redshirt senior forward Ben Vander Plas (13.6 ppg) and graduate student Jason Carter (13.2 ppg). Carter leads Ohio in rebounding at 7.3 per game, followed closely by Vander Plas (6.7 rpg).
The Bobcats average shooting 42% from the field, 34.6% from the 3-point line, and 75.8% from the free-throw line. Ohio outscores opponents by nearly five points per game and does a good job of taking care of the ball, but they are outrebounded by opponents by over two caroms per game.
Junior guard Taevion Kinsey continues to lead Marshall in scoring at 21.2 points per game. Junior guard Andrew Taylor (13.5 ppg), redshirt freshman forward Obinna Anochili-Killen (12.1 ppg), and senior forward Darius George (10.1 ppg) also average in double figures. Anochili-Killen still tops Marshall in rebounds at 7.2 per game, followed closely by Taylor and George. Anochili-Killen continues to rack up huge shot block numbers with a total of 9 of 50 in ten contests.
After Wednesday’s game, Marshall heads back home for a Saturday afternoon meeting with Northern Iowa of the Missouri Valley Conference. That game tips off at 4 at the Henderson Center.
Player of the Week: Kinsey was named Conference USA Player of the Week on Monday. It is his fourth-career C-USA weekly award and his first of the 2021-22 season. Kinsey had a big week on the court as he averaged 21 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game in a pair of wins for Marshall. Against Bluefield University, the junior tallied 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out seven assists. He went 9-for-13 from the field in the victory last Wednesday. On Saturday at EKU, he scored another 21 points, had seven boards and five assists as Marshall picked up its first road win of the season.