Marshall (5-8) at Akron (7-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: James A. Rhodes Arena (5,500) -- Akron, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Marshall 5-2, Akron 5-0. Away Record: Marshall 0-5, Akron 1-3. Neutral Record: Marshall 0-1, Akron 1-2. Conference Record: Marshall 0-0, Akron 0-0. Series Record: Marshall leads, 11-10.
GAME NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd hope to end their road woes as they visit James A. Rhodes Arena for a non-conference bout against the Akron Zips.
Marshall suffered its most lopsided setback of the season on Monday as it dropped a 92-65 decision at South Carolina. Coach Tom Herrion's squad has now lost to six Division I opponents in a row to fall to a 5-8 overall record with its Conference USA opener set for next week at Texas-San Antonio. The Thundering Herd had a poor offensive showing against the Gamecocks and finished just 1-of-14 from beyond the arc. They are still averaging 84.2 ppg on 47.1 percent efficiency from the field, although those numbers appear to be on the decline with star forward Elijah Pittman (21.4 ppg) suspended indefinitely. The Herd are currently 0-6 away from home this season and have not won away from the Henderson Center since Feb. 20, 2013, in an 82-70 win over UCF.
Keith Dambrot's Zips closed out 2013 with a 77-66 win over Coppin State. The victory ended the team's three-game losing streak which consisted of one loss to Iowa State and back-to-back setbacks courtesy of South Carolina. Akron owns a 7-5 overall record including a perfect 5-0 mark at home. This will be the final test for the Zips before they begin their Mid-American Conference schedule on Wednesday at Ball State.
Marshall leads the all-time series 11-10 as the two sides prepare for the 22nd meeting in the history of the programs. The Zips have got the best of Marshall in the last three meetings. The Herd have not defeated Akron since Mar. 3, 2003 in Huntington, 78-68.
Without Pittman in the fold against the Gamecocks, Marshall allowed 54 points in the paint and shot 37.8 percent from the floor for the game. Freshman point guard Kareem Canty could be the best newcomer to the C-USA, but he showed his inexperience against USC with 11 turnovers against three assists. Canty went just 2-of-15 from the floor to net 11 points, while Shawn Smith came off the bench to pump in a team-best 19 points. Ryan Taylor appears to be taking on a bigger role as of late and tallied 18 points, five rebounds and three blocks in the loss to the SEC program. Canty is now carrying averages of 17.3 points, seven assists and 1.1 steals.
The Zips are a contender to repeat as MAC champions due to the stellar play of senior forward Demetrius Treadwell, who enters the contest with 13.6 points and eight rebounds per game, both numbers make him the team leader in each category. Treadwell is one of two players on the Akron roster to have started and played in all 12 contests this season. Reggie McAdams came up big against Coppin State by hitting 4-of-8 tries from behind the 3-point line en route to 16 points. Jake Kretzer drained 3-of-6 shots from beyond the arc to tally 13 points and Treadwell chipped in 11 points.
The Herd's lack of success outside of West Virginia and the loss of their go- to-guy makes the visitors huge underdogs in this one. The Zips should have no problem taking advantage of MU's inexperienced starting five throughout the contest. Canty will need to limit his mistakes and find his shooting touch to give the Herd a chance at a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 82, Marshall 67
01/02 10:31:27 ET