Marshall hosts Louisiana in a Sun Belt Preview

Marshall rebounded from its only loss on the season on Sunday with an 80-66 win over Jackson State, but the challenge gets a bit tougher Tuesday night when the University of Louisiana takes on the Thundering Herd in the Henderson Center.

The game tips off at 7 and will be shown on ESPN+.

The game will showcase two teams who will meet more often when Marshall joins the Sun Belt Conference.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-1) are coming off a 76-44 loss at Indiana. Marshall (3-1) will play at Indiana Saturday evening.

Louisiana began the season with consecutive wins over West Florida, Conference USA member Southern Miss and Xavier (Louisiana).

This will be the 7th meeting between the schools and the series is tied at three wins apiece. The teams last met in the l996-1997 season, a 71-61 Marshall win in a game played at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The two schools first met in 1972 in the NCAA Tournament when the Ragin’ Cajuns, then known as Southwest Louisiana, beat Marshall 112-101 in a first-round game in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Marshall Head Coach Dan D’Antoni was happy with Sunday’s win over Jackson State, but he warned Herd fans to prepare for a battle on Tuesday night.

“The team is similar to Jackson State, but they’re bigger and maybe more talented,” D’Antoni said.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by a former Marshall assistant, Bobby Marlin, who has a 207-132 record in 12 seasons in Lafayette. Marlin was an assistant to current Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman in Altman’s single-season in Huntington.

The top scorers for the Ragin’ Cajuns are sophomore forward Jordan Brown at 13.3 points per game and junior forward Theo Akwuba at 10 points per contest. Akwuba is Louisiana’s top rebounder at 8.5 per game, followed closely by Brown with 7 per game. Junior guard Greg Williams Jr. tops the Ragin’ Cajuns with 12 assists.

Louisiana outscores its opponents by nearly 9 points per game but has struggled in shooting (36.6% per game) and from the free-throw line (59.8%).

Marshall is still dealing with its own shooting woes from beyond the three-point line. Normally-trustworthy shooters like guards Andrew Taylor (5 of 27) and Taevion Kinsey (2 for 11) are struggling on long-distance shots.

The Herd made only 4 of 17 three-point shot attempts in Sunday’s Jackson State win.

Made three-pointers are a big part of D’Antoni’s offense and he’s confident that the Thundering Herd will eventually get out of its shooting slump.

“We make everything in practice,” D’Antoni said. We can shoot and we’ll eventually again when it counts.”

Kinsey still leads Marshall in scoring at 19.8 points per contest and he’s followed by three other double-figure scorers in Darius George (14.8 points per game), Obinna Anochili-Killen (12.8 points per game), and Taylor (11 points per game). Anochili-Killen (8 per game) and George (6.8) lead Marshall in rebounds.

Anochili-Killen has recorded 22 blocks in Marshall’s first four games, averaging 5.5 per game.

Story by Bill Cornwell – Photo Credit Marshall University Athletics