Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL BASKETBALL ; Marshall Prepares for Tough Cincinnati Defense

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL BASKETBALL ; Marshall Prepares for Tough Cincinnati Defense

Article excerpt

MARSHALL AT CINCINNATI When: 7 p.m. Thursday TV: CBS Sports Network Line: Cincinnati by 18

It's not just that 23rd-ranked Cincinnati, Marshall's opponent Thursday night, is giving up barely over 60 points per game. A more deliberate pace and a few outmanned visiting teams can contribute to that. This stat may stand out a little more: UC opponents are shooting just 36.8 percent.

Even the two teams that have beaten the Bearcats, Rhode Island and Butler, couldn't reach 45 percent. And Iowa State, 19th at the time, couldn't score 55 in 45 minutes - UC won that overtime game 55- 54.

Beyond the numbers, Thundering Herd coach Dan D'Antoni sees what the Bearcats are doing and knows his team will earn every point.

"They play something you don't face all the time, D'Antoni said. "They're well-coached, they're tough kids with length, and they run that little matchup they've got, with a little press sometimes. They do really well.

Marshall battles those Bearcats in their Fifth Third Arena at 7 p.m., with CBS Sports Network televising.

The Bearcats were picked to win the American Athletic Conference, and have jumped to a 9-2 start. When they lost to Rhode Island, the Rams were 21st; Butler has climbed from 16th to a current 13th since beating UC on Dec. 10.

The Bearcats are loaded with highly regarded players. Troy Capuain (10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists) was named a co- preseason player of the year in the American, and Kyle Washington (15.0 points, 8.1 rebounds) is considered one of the nation's top transfers. Washington, a 6-foot-9 junior, came from North Carolina State.

Jacob Evans III, a 6-6 sophomore, averages 15.1 points to lead the Bearcats. Those three, plus Kevin Johnson (7.5 points, 1.4 steals) and 6-8 Gary Clark (8.7 points, 6.6 rebounds), have formed the starting lineup for 10 of the 11 games.

Off the bench, Jarron Cumberland (6.2 points) scored a team-high 29 points in two games last week to earn the AAC's Rookie of the Week honor.

He helped the Bearcats obliterate Fairleigh Dickinson in their last game, 119-68. Cincinnati set new records for scoring and field goals (44) in the AAC, which is in its fourth season.

That win Saturday was the Bearcats' 15th in a row at home, a streak that's nearly a calendar year long. Temple was the last team to sneak out of Fifth Third Arena victorious.

It's a tall order for the 7-4 Herd, which is 0-4 on the road. All four losses have been to top-110 teams in the Rating Percentage Index, and they are a combined 31-16.

The first of those four was that 111-70 humbling Nov. 25 at Ohio State, in which the Herd went down 34-14 in the first nine minutes.

That could have been just "one of those games. As D'Antoni points out, North Carolina Central gave the Buckeyes trouble 11 days earlier. He didn't point out Florida Atlantic's win in Columbus on Dec. …

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