Marshall (7-7) at Ohio University (8-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Marshall 6-2, Ohio 8-1. Away Record: Marshall 0-3, Ohio 0-4. Neutral Record: Marshall 1-2, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Marshall 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 53-46.
GAME NOTES: A former Mid-American Conference rivalry will be renewed as the Marshall Thundering Herd and Ohio University Bobcats meet for the 100th time in history.
Ohio holds a 53-46 all-time series edge versus Marshall coming into Saturday's action after its victories in the last two meetings, the most recent of which was a 70-68 affair at the Cam Henderson Center on Nov. 30, 2011. The Thundering Herd left the Convocation Center with a 65-57 decision the last time they came to Athens.
Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd will try to turn things around in Athens after a 53-51 loss to Delaware State dropped them back to .500. Marshall has now been defeated in two straight games and in three of its last four. The Herd will have to find success on the road for the first time this season to end their losing slide. During a disappointing season thus far, Marshall is scoring 69.9 ppg and pulling down 41.2 rpg, while its opposition is averaging 68.6 points and 36.7 boards.
Ohio appeared to be one of the top mid-major programs in the nation early on this season as it reeled off six straight wins to start the year. However, the Bobcats are just 2-5 since after their 74-63 loss at Oklahoma on Dec. 29. Although Jim Christian's squad is outscoring its foes by an average margin of 9.7 points, it has lacked consistency on the offensive end on the way to its 73 ppg scoring offense mark.
Marshall overcame a 12-point deficit to tie the score at 41 with 3:48 left in its game versus Delaware State, but the Hornets came up with clutch shots down the stretch to collect the two-point victory. The Herd shot just 36.2 percent from the field as they continued to struggle without star guard DeAndre Kane, who is out indefinitely with an injured hand. Elijah Pittman is the leader among active players on the roster with 14.9 ppg and junior guard D.D. Scarver is close behind with 14.1 ppg. Dennis Tinnon (11.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Nigel Spikes (6.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg) tower down low to make MU one of the top rebounding teams in Conference USA.
Ohio went into halftime of its bout against the Sooners tied with its opponent at 29, despite hitting five 3-pointers to Oklahoma's zero. The Sooners went on a roll in the second half, knocking down 17-of-24 from the floor (.708), including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, en route to the double-digit win. For the Bobcats, D.J. Cooper finished with a team-high 14 points and seven assists while Reggie Keely pulled down eight boards to go with 13 points. Cooper, who leads the team with 14.3 ppg, has averaged 9.4 assists over his last five games. Walter Offutt is second on the unit with 11.9 ppg.
Both these teams are in a slump overall and could benefit from a win with conference play on deck. The Herd are going to be at a disadvantage versus Ohio as they lack a point guard capable of matching up with Cooper without Kane available.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 74, Marshall 62
01/05 10:36:42 ET