Marshall will play its biggest non-conference game of the year tonight.
Yes, they have a date with No. 11 Cincinnati and will travel to Kentucky on Dec. 22, but tonight it’s a different beast.
The Thundering Herd travel to Charleston to take on rival West Virginia in the annual Capital Classic.
West Virginia is only 2-3, while Marshall sits at 5-3.
Marshall’s losses, though, have come against a struggling Villanova team, a decent San Diego State team and Hofstra. All three will probably see the NIT at best this year.
The Thundering Herd have beaten Nevada, Morehead State and UNC Wilmington, all quality opponents, but nothing special.
West Virginia has lost to Oklahoma, Davidson and Gonzaga, all really good teams with a shot to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers are expected to make the NCAA Tournament, while Marshall is a dark horse in need of signature wins.
Tonight’s Capital Classic is a signature win waiting to happen for the Herd. But, unfortunately for them, it falls on the shoulders of guard DeAndre Kane.
The junior has been a scoring threat his first two years at Marshall, but this season he has been put in the position of starting point guard.
He has averaged 16 points per game along with 8.3 assists per game. But his shot has struggled.
Kane has shot 35 percent from the field and 47 percent from the free-throw line, including three airballs in the past two games.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins will have his team ready to take advantage of the impromptu point guard.
The Mountaineers will also look to get the ball to transfers
Juwan Dayton (Dayton, 10.8 ppg) and Aaric Murray (La Salle, 10.3 ppg).
Look for this to be a physical game, with both teams looking for a signature win to hang their hat on this season.
Sean Woods’ first season at Morehead State has gotten attention, but for a few wrong reasons.
Getting in a player’s face during the Eagles’ in-state game against Kentucky has given Woods’ national attention, and it’s not been good.
People seem to forget though that the Eagles led a majority of the game against the Wildcats.
I was in person to see Morehead State’s game against Marshall on Nov. 28, and the Eagles gave the Herd all they could handle.
The Eagles don’t quit, and they play hard-nosed, in-your-face man-to-man defense. Marshall was lucky to pick up a 70-67 win.
The problem with Morehead State comes from the offense, or lack thereof. After Milton Chavis — averaging 15.8 points per game — no other player averages more than eight points per game.
As a team, Morehead State is averaging 72 points per game which is good for 70th in the country. Playing against teams like Kentucky, Marshall and Maryland, this just won’t do.
Tonight the Eagles will play against a decent North Dakota State team, who could be the at-large NCAA Tournament representative from the Summit League.
Woods will get the job done at Morehead — he has the pedigree and the passion for the job. Let’s just hope his passion shines through in a positive way from now on.
Rowan County’s D.J. Townsend continues to excel on the basketball court.
The freshman guard has played in all 11 games at Georgetown College, and has even started in nine of the 11 games.
He is averaging almost 19 minutes per game while averaging almost four points per game.
The Tigers have started the season 8-3, which includes going a perfect 7-0 in non-conference play this season.
Former Ashland standout Katelyn Connor is getting her time at Coastal Carolina.
Connor has started in six of the Chanticleers’ seven games as Coastal Carolina has started the season 5-2.
The junior is averaging 8.2 points per game along with 6.8 rebounds per game.
In the team’s Big South opener on Saturday against Gardner Webb, Connor posted her first collegiate double-double, picking up 14 points and 11 rebounds.
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2658.
Marshall will play its biggest non-conference game of the year tonight.
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VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
- Fleming hangs tough to beat Lewis Fleming County locked into another fight against Lewis County, which beat the Panthers earlier this season, before winning 66-58 on Monday in Morehead. Wilder Williams posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who face Ashland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
- GALLERY: Ashland gets by Greenup County, will meet Fleming in region final Ashland's Steven Friley scored 21 points Monday to lead the Tomcats to an 81-61 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region semifinal in Morehead.
Kittens clamoring for more at state
Ashland girls basketball coaches went the extra mile, and a whole bunch more, to get a first-hand scouting report on the Kittens’ opponent for the State Tournament.
Head coach Bill Bradley and assistant Phil Wittich drove all the way to Henderson — 5 hours, 20 minutes one way Bradley said on the way home — to take in Sunday’s Second Region championship game.
Henderson County, playing on its home floor, defeated University Heights 67-54. The Lady Colonels went unbeaten in their region this season and are 24-5 overall.
EKC hands out hardware
The Eastern Kentucky Conference handed out its 2014 awards on Monday afternoon at a luncheon at Carter Caves.
Barracudas earn kudos from coach
Ashland Area YMCA swimmers impressed coach Ryan Ferguson from start to finish in the three-day Kentucky Y Competitive Swim League State Meet.
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- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights