Marshall-Appalachian State Basketball Preview

Marshall Men’s Basketball begins a 4-game Sun Belt Conference road trip Thursday at Appalachian State

By Bill Cornwell

The Marshall Men’s Basketball team begins a major test of its standing in the Sun Belt Conference on Thursday evening as the Herd begins a 4-game conference road trip at Appalachian State.

The game tips off at 6:30 pm in the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, N.C. and the game can be viewed on ESPN+.

The teams last games were impressive. The Mountaineers (13-10, 6-4) defeated Arkansas State at home last Saturday 63-51, while Marshall (18-5, 7-3) was blowing out Georgia State at the Henderson Center by a 103-65 score.

The Herd and Mountaineers have already met once this season as Marshall won its initial Sun Belt Conference game last December 29th by beating Appalachian State 79-53 in Huntington. Andrew Taylor and Kamdyn Curfman each scored 15 points in the contest as five Marshall players scored in double figures. Mountaineers’ guard Tyree Boykin scored a game-high 20 points in the loss.

The teams are meeting for the 52nd time, with Marshall leading the all-time series 33-18.

The Herd sits alone in second place in the Sun Belt standings, a game behind co-leaders Louisiana and Southern Miss. The Mountaineers are in a 3-way tie for third place in the league, one game behind Marshall.

After a rough start in the Sun Belt this season, the Mountaineers have turned things around by winning three games in a row and four of their last five.

Coach Dustin Kerns squad is led in scoring by senior forward Donovan Gregory and graduate guard Tyree Boykin at 11.9 points per game. Boykin has not played since a January 12th loss to Georgia Southern. Sophomore guard Terence Harcum is also a double-figure scorer at 10.8 points per game. Junior forward CJ Huntley is ASU’s top rebounder at 6.6 per game. Freshman forward Justin Abson’s 50 blocks places him in 4th place in the Sun Belt totals, ten behind league leader and Marshall freshman Micah Handlogten’s 60 blocks.

The Mountaineers are outscoring opponents by over eight points per game (72.8 to 64.2) and outrebound the opposition by one board per game.

ASU is shooting 44.8% from the field, 33.9% from the 3-point line and 69.3% from the foul line.

Marshall’s Taevion Kinsey continues to lead Marshall and the Sun Belt by scoring 21.3 points per game. Herd guards Andrew Taylor (19.2 ppg) and Kamdyn Curfman (12.3 ppg) and Marshall’s other double-figure scorers. Handlogten is also a team and Sun Belt leader with 10.6 rebounds per contest.

The Herd continues to outscore opponents by nearly 13 points per game (82.78 to 69.96). Marshall has a two-rebound advantage per game over opponents.

The Herd is shooting 47.3% from the field, 33.8% from the 3-point line and an improving 64.5% from the foul line.

Marshall’s road trip continues Saturday night at 8 as the Herd visits the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Highly-Ranked Herd–Marshall is one of three Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball programs are among the top-10 teams in the most recent Men’s Basketball Mid-Major Top-25. The latest poll features Louisiana at No. 4, marking its highest ranking of the season. Southern Miss is No. 8 and Marshall is No. 10. James Madison also is receiving votes. Louisiana is on a Sun Belt-best eight-game win streak. All three ranked squads have at least 18 victories on the year and Southern Miss goes for win No. 20 on Thursday. The Sun Belt has four teams among the nation’s top-100 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings. Southern Miss leads the way at No. 67. Marshall is No. 71, James Madison is No. 89 and Louisiana is No. 94.