Marshall moving forward from loss
HUNTINGTON — Marshall’s 104-67 loss to Maryland on Saturday afternoon did not come without benefits to the Thundering Herd basketball program.
Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni and players all agreed that there were plenty of teaching tools to take from Saturday’s struggle against the Terrapins.
“We are playing a little bit like we think we’re a little better than what we are,” D’Antoni said. “We’re only as good as how hard we play and the decisions we make.”
Marshall senior guard Jon Elmore agreed with his coach and added that, in looking back, the game was a product of the moments leading up to Saturday’s contest.
“I didn’t think our energy was great all day,” Elmore said. “At shootaround, we were flat and the attention to detail wasn’t great. We came out a little slow in the game and, in games like that, if you aren’t playing your best at all times, you can get run out. That’s the type of level we’re playing on and those are the type of games we want to play in and win, moving forward.”
D’Antoni pointed to the final four minutes of the first half as the time when the game flipped for the Herd. After being back-and-forth early on, Maryland extended an eight-point lead to 15 at halftime after Marshall ran into some uncharacteristic errors.
“We should’ve been down eight,” D’Antoni said. “I think it was a 10-point game and Taevion (Kinsey) stole the ball. The freshman got a little tentative. He should’ve just kept on going because he probably would’ve scored, but they stole the ball, came down and hit and made it 12 and, for some reason, we fouled and they hit (three free throws) to make it 15. We came out and didn’t score for the first five minutes and we panicked a little bit.”
Marshall sophomore guard Jarrod West said the game erupting from the close margin to its 37-point final gap showed exactly how important it is for the team to trust in its system and continue to execute within the offense.
“When they started to open it up, it seemed like a lot of us were trying to make plays on our own instead of using the system and using our offense,” West said. “Against teams like that, if you are not executing correctly, that’s how you get exposed and that’s how they opened it up.”
All involved said that the corrections come from within, which started with Monday’s practice in preparation for Wednesday’s contest against William & Mary, which brings an efficient offense that can put points up quickly if a team is not fundamentally sound, as the Herd found out last season in a 114-104 loss to the Tribe.
Marshall’s focus on Monday was getting its energy back to the level that made the team successful in its first four wins.
“It’s just a matter of bouncing back,” Elmore said. “There’s going to be those games sometimes in a long season where everything seems to go wrong at every point. It’s like quicksand. The harder you fight, it just keeps getting worse and worse. We’re going to take what we can from it, but you can’t dwell on it. Just like coach says, you can’t get too high on a win or too low on a loss.”
D’Antoni added that keeping things in proper perspective is important.
“Once it gets away from you, it gets away,” D’Antoni said. “The way we play, it just takes off. I’m not worried so much about number of points, as I was worried about we made mistakes that gave them the spread and we panicked a little bit.”
The 37-point loss was disappointing, but at the end of the day, it still is just one loss. The important thing for the team is to not let it become two losses because there is still a hangover effect from Saturday.
“You’ve just got to pick it up a notch,” Elmore said. “We can’t look in the rear-view at all. Our motto going into each game is that we’re 0-0 and we want to leave 1-0. We were 0-1 last time, but we’re again 0-0 and we’re trying to go 1-0 again.”