Marshall managed to hold on for a 81-80 win at Ellis Johnson Gym on the Morehead State campus last season, led by departed senior Travis Aikens with 21 points. MSU true freshman Maze Stallworth also scored 21 points to lead the Eagles in last year's game. Currently, Stallworth is second in scoring this year for Morehead State (2-3) at 10.4 points per game while junior Leon Buchanan leads MSU with 15.0 points per game and with 6.4 rebounds per game. Buchanan is a juco from Abraham Baldwin Community College. Also scoring in double-digits for the Eagles is true freshman Kenneth Faried, a 6-foot-8 player from Newark, N.J. who comes off the bench.
Marshall (3-1) suffered its first loss this week at Wright State, 77-70, in a game where the Herd had three more field goals and four more threes than the Raiders, but 20 less free throw attempts. MU is led in scoring by three starter in double figures. All-Conference USA two-time pick, junior Markel Humphrey, leads the Herd in points per game at 15.5. Senior Mark Dorris is next at 14.5 points per, and he and Humphrey have 12-game streaks of scoring in double-digits, back to last season. The other starter is true freshman Tirrell Baines, who averages 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Leading the Herd on the glass is Lexington, Kentucky sophomore Tyler Wilkerson with six rebounds per game. Also in the starting line-up is point guard Darryl Merthie, who is averaging six points, two rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, the senior transfer from Gonzaga who came in to play point for the Herd as a graduate school student, has not played in the last three games due to an ankle sprain and his participation is still questionable. Off the bench, true freshman Matt Walls is averaging eight points per game.
One player who has elevated his game to career-best heights is senior walk-on Taurean Marshall. The Fort Washington, Maryland guard had nine career highs set or tied at Wright State. He played a career-best minutes (30), rebounds (6), field goals made/attempts (5-of-8), three-point goals/attempts (3-of-5) and free throws (2). Marshall had scored just 22 career points in an injury-filled career at MU before scoring 15 against the Raiders. Coach Donnie Jones has said Marshall has played his way into the rotation at point with P-MAC and Merthie.
Marshall leads the all-time series with the Eagles, 48-43, in a series that started in the 1939-40 season. Both teams were members of the Ohio Valley Conference in its inception in 1948, although Marshall left to join the Mid-American Conference for 1953. The Herd is 15-4 at home against the Eagles since 1967, 6-0 at the Cam Henderson Center and is 85-83 overall against Morehead State and other teams in the current OVC, including Eastern Kentucky (15-23), Murray State (9-10) and Austin Peay (3-4). In overtime games against the Eagles, MU is 3-1 but lost the last OT game, falling 101-100 in December of 2002. Saturday's game can be heard on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network, locally in Huntington on ESPN 930 AM, WRVC, and 93.7 FM, "The Dawg."