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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 26, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cam Henderson Center (9,048) -- Huntington, West Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: WKU 3-0, Marshall 3-1. Away Record: WKU 0-1, Marshall 0-1. Neutral Record: WKU 0-0, Marshall 0-0. Conference Record: WKU 0-0, Marshall 0-0. Series Record: WKU leads, 11-4.
GAMES NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd will finish off a three-game homestand on Tuesday when they host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in a non- league scuffle at the Cam Henderson Center.
This is the second road game of the season for the Hilltoppers. In the season opener they were tossed aside, 66-59, by No. 12 Wichita State. Since that loss the Hilltoppers have bounced back with wins in three straight home bouts, including a 67-64 triumph over Samford on Saturday.
The Thundering Herd have had uneven returns in the first two parts of their current homestand. Marshall began with an 80-73 loss in overtime to Stephen F. Austin, but followed that with a 96-78 victory over UNC Wilmington. Marshall is currently holding a 3-2 overall record with its other loss coming in overtime as well, falling to Morehead State (102-94) on the road.
WKU has won three of the last four meetings between these teams, including a 70-54 triumph in Bowling Green last time out during the 2004-05 season. The Hilltoppers lead the all-time series by an 11-4 count.
Shooting from beyond the arc and from the free-throw line keyed Western Kentucky to its win over Samford. The Hilltoppers knocked down eight shots from 3-point range and had a 15-5 edge in scoring from the charity stripe. T.J. Price poured in 28 points to carry the bulk of the offensive load.
In the first four games of the season the Hilltoppers have relied more on their defensive strength than offensive firepower. WKU is holding teams to just 59.5 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting, while netting just 38.4 percent of its own shots from the floor. Price (18.0 ppg) has been a major reason the Hilltoppers have been able to stay afloat offensively. Price has knocked down 11-of-32 shots from beyond the arc and is one of only two players scoring more than six points per game. George Fant (13.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is the next best scorer and has been a more efficient one, netting 54.5 percent of his shots from the field.
It was another explosive night on the offensive end for the Thundering Herd against UNC Wilmington. Marshall shot at a 59-percent clip from the field and had a massive scoring advantage from beyond the arc (33-0) as it did not allow a single triple to the Seahawks.
Big point totals are nothing new for the Thundering Herd, who are fifth in the nation in points per game (93.4 ppg). The Herd is also among the top 30 teams in the country in field goal percentage (.522) and assists (17.4 pg). Elijah Pittman (29.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg) has been playing at an incredible level in the early going. With 32 points against UNCW he has notched 30 points in three straight games, while having at least 25 points in all five contests. Kareem Canty (17.0 ppg, 8.4 apg) provides a complement to Pittman in the backcourt, while making sure to get the rest of the Herd's scorers involved. After Pittman and Canty the next best options are Ryan Taylor (12.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and valuable reserve Chris Thomas (10.2 ppg).
To give itself the best chance at a victory on Tuesday, WKU will need to keep up its strong defensive effort. That will be tough to do against a team as offensively potent at Marshall, especially on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marshall 90, Western Kentucky 75
11/26 10:34:51 ET
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