"Madness" Begins Basketball Season

Marshall fans burned the midnight oil on Friday night. Really. Coach Ron Jirsa rolled out his 2004-05 men's basketball team at the stroke of midnight in front of about 2,800 fans at the Henderson Center on Friday night/Saturday morning...

And in a break with past tradition, the midnight practice and scrimmage was kept short and sweet -two 10-minute halves with the clock rolling- so that fans just got a taste of what's to come this season.

"It certainly was fun, and that's what it's all about," Jirsa said after the madness ended. "We want to give the fans a taste, and get them to come back."

Newcomers Collins Okafor (50) and Joe Miles fought for a rebound at Marshall's midnight scrimmage on Friday night.

Jirsa introduced Marshall fans to two new interactive cheers to be used this season, after Marshall hits either a free throw or a three-point shot. Getting the fans involved -and keeping them involved the entire game- is the reason Jirsa gave for the cheers.

"Doing the little things really connects the fans, the coaches, the bench, the players on the court," coach Ron Jirsa said of the free throw 'whoosh' and the three-point 'Go Herd' introduced to fans at the midnight scrimmage. "It means a whole lot more. And when we do those things, we will have better results."

And the fans got ample opportunities to try them out. In the short scrimmage, the White team pulled away in the last two minutes to seal a 34-28 win over the Green team. Senior guard Ronny Dawn led all scorers with 13 points including three three-pointers, with sophomore forward Mark Patton adding 11 points.

"Everybody was excited to get out there in front of our fans," guard A.W. Hamilton said. "As you can see, everybody was passing together, moving together."

Marshall fans were treated to their first look at head coach Ron Jirsa's first recruiting class, and were not disappointed. Ryan Lamb , Joe Miles, Casey Wohlleb , and Collins Okafor all took the floor for the first time in the Green and White. Jesse Oglesby sat out the night's festivities because of an injured right leg.

Marshall's begins the season with an exhibition against WVU Tech on November 2nd at 2 p.m. in the Henderson Center.

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