Marshall (6-7, 3-3 and third in the MAC East Division) shot 24-of-46 (52.2 percent) on the night, the first time all season the Herd had shot better than 50 percent from the floor. The long-range bombers for MU were hot too, as the Herd hit 7-of-14 from behind the arc.
Marshall was led in three-point baskets by freshman Tre' Whitted, who had three threes in a row in the first half. The Herd got out to the largest lead of the season for Marshall when MU led 35-17 with 5:29 to play in the first half. Whitted, who has battled shin splints for three weeks, when he shot only 1-of-19 from the floor against Central Michigan, Kent State and Western Michigan, has bounced back and fought through the pain to make 8-of-13 shots in the last two games, including 5-of-7 from the three-point line.
"I just have to be patient, work hard on defense, and the offense will come," said Whitted. "Jeff Carrico (MU's head trainer) done a great job of working with me, but he said the only thing to help me get over the injury will be rest and most of the time, I stay pretty busy with classes and basketball." The true freshman has now started in each of the Herd's 13 games in his first year of adjusting to college life and college basketball.
Speaking of returning from injury, Marvin Black came back from a bruised sternum he suffered in the Western Michigan game. Black came back with a vengeance after missing one and one-half games (WMU second half and all of the Toledo game), recording his 12th "double-double" at Marshall with 22 points and 12 rebounds in only 23 minutes played. Black was a force on the defensive end of the court where all 12 of his rebounds came for Marshall.
"It is hard for our program to rest (Marvin), when he's got the injury. We did the right thing by not putting him at Toledo," said MU head coach Ron Jirsa. "The games where Marvin was not healthy and ready to play, like UNC-Wilmington, the second half of the Western game and Toledo, we struggled."
Marshall not only had one of its best shooting nights, the Herd defense limited Buffalo to only 37.7 percent shooting for the game (26-69) and 27.8 percent from three-point (5-18). "I think it's a great combination," said Jirsa when asked if he liked shooting 52 percent or holding Buffalo to only 38 percent. "We battled. A.W.(Hamilton, who tied a career high with 17 points) did a great job on defense against (UB point guard Turner) Battle, who only hit 5-of-16 shots on the night."
Next up for the Herd men and women is the Capital City Classic against West Virginia University in the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday, January 21. The women tip off at 5:30 p.m., while the men's game goes off at 8:00 p.m. You can hear the action on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network (in Huntington, WRVC 930 AM and The Dawg, 93.7 FM). Just a reminder, do not forget, the Herd Insider will hold publication until Thursday morning, the 22nd, to include the WVU-MU contests in next week's HI.