Red Wolves scare the crap out of Marshall

Arkansas State falls in overtime to the Thundering Herd, 78-87

Fifteen minutes before tip-off, it was clear that Marshall’s first ever Sun Belt match-up against Arkansas State won’t be greeted by a full house – or even fifth-house. F’N Bank Arena is mostly populated by diehards hoping to see something positive against the Sun Belt’s hottest program. With starting freshman guard Terrance Ford out with an injury, the prospects for victory appear slim.

Midway through the first half, you see things you like to see – Izaiyah Nelson scrambling for boards, Markise Davis hitting jumpers and threes, lots of kenetic energy overall, for example. There’s also too many missed shots beneath the goal, too many sloppy passes and not enough offense on the perimeter. One wishes that Omar El-Sheikh would magically develop a fade, or that Malcolm Farrington would enter the game pre-heated.

Meanwhile, the Thundering Herd have a couple bigs that present trouble: 6’8″ forward Obinna Anochili-Killen and 7’1″ center Micah Handlogten are not without skill. But it’s Marshall’s perimeter hooting led by Andrew Taylor and Kamdyn Curfman that provide the most headaches. At the end of the half, the combo is 4/7 from the three point line, and the halftime score is 31-23 Red Wolves.

Caleb Fields entered the second half with his heart pumping lava, dropping three layups in quick succession, followed by a Nelson slam to cut the lead to four. Fields nails a couple freebies and the Red Wolves are only down by two with 13 minutes remaining.

Marshall woke up after that, tho, drawing the lead to 10 points as A-State shooting fell into a deep coma. An Avery Felts three, an El-Sheikh El-Slam, and another Felts three pulled the game back to two. Farrington gets hot, too, matching Felts three-4-three. Under six minutes to play, the score is 60-57 Herd.

With 59 seconds left on the clock, the Red Wolves are down two points, with the Triple Fs (Fields, Felts and Farrrington) leading the Red Wolves in buckets. The Herd’s Andrew Taylor, who earlier hit a magic floating fade away sky hook, has 22. With 25 seconds on the clock, Davis finally scores his first bucket of the half – but not before Marshall adds one of their own! It’s still a two point game.

Ten seconds on the clock, Red Wolves down two, Marshall inbounds and Julian Lual delivers the steal and dish to Fields – WHO SCORES! We gots overtime, baby!

Marshall scored the first thirteen points of the OT, with the Red Wolves contributing with sloppy turnovers and missed free throws. By the time Avery Felts staunched the bleeding with a corner three, the game was out of reach for Arkansas State.

A loss is a loss, and a loss sucks rocks.

PHOTO CREDIT: Carla Wehmeyer – Arkansas State