MU opens today vs. WV Tech

Published 12:12 am Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Marshall University men’s basketball team will open the 2008-09 season on Sunday when it plays host to WVU Tech at 2 p.m. ET at the Cam Henderson Center.

Marshall is coming off of a 16-14 season a year ago, its first winning campaign in seven seasons. Head coach Donnie Jones, in his second season at MU, has five returners and eight newcomers at his disposal, including two-time All-Conference USA Third Team selection Markel Humphrey. The senior averaged 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 2007-08.

Marshall is 74-22 all-time in season-opening games and 16-1 in season-openers at the Cam Henderson Center. In last season’s opening contest, the Thundering Herd upended Pikeville (Ky.) in Huntington, 60-49, to win the collegiate coaching debut of Jones.

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Marshall and WVU Tech, formerly known as New River State, will tangle for the 21st time in Sunday’s contest at the Henderson Center. The Herd leads the all-time series 14-6, with all six of the Golden Bears’ victories in the series coming prior to the name change to WVU Tech (14-6 vs NRS; 4-0 vs WVUT). Sunday’s meeting marks the first time the two schools will have faced each other since MU’s 34-point victory over WVU Tech during the 1944-45 season.

WVU Tech will play its seventh game of the season when it travels to Huntington to face the Thundering Herd. The Golden Bears have won three of their last four games, including two straight, to come out of the gates with a 4-2 mark.

The wins column includes a 69-point thumping of Ohio State-Marion (102-33) on Nov. 5 and an 83-75 win in the Bears’ last outing on Wednesday versus Southern Virginia.

Senior forward Sam Robertson leads WVU Tech in scoring (13.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg).

Robertson, however, netted just six points on Wednesday versus SVU but he did pull down a game-high 11 rebounds.

Junior guard Zack Thomeson is the Golden Bears’ leader in assists, dishing out 4.5 per game, including his 10-assist effort on Wednesday. Junior Robby Marshall (12.2 ppg and 55.8 FG percent) and senior Victor McGee (9.8 ppg) are Tech’s next two highest scorers.

As a team, the Bears shoot nearly 50 percent from the floor while holding their opponents to 36.2 percent shooting. Turnovers have been troublesome for Tech as it turns the ball over 19 times per contest for a -3.2 turnover margin.