By David Rogers. BOONE, N.C. — Turnovers and points allowed off turnovers proved to be Appalachian State’s Achilles heel on Feb. 2, losing to Marshall, 66-58, in the Holmes Convocation Center in front of 2,685 midweek basketball fans.
The Thundering Herd came into the game averaging 81.7 points in offense across all Sun Belt opponents, so the Mountaineers achieved a measure of success in limiting Marshall to 15 fewer than their average in offensive production. App State head coach Dustin Kerns explained after the game that the defensive game plan was to focus on one of Marshall’s three big scorers, Taevion Kinsey, Andrew Taylor, and Kamdyn Curfman.
“Kinsey and Taylor are the leading scoring combo in the country,” Kerns pointed out. “So our game plan wasn’t necessarily against them, it was more about Curfman, Micah Handlogten and Obinna Anochili-Killen. Kinsey and Taylor have gotten their points against every team this season, non-conference or conference, they are going to get their shots and their points. We really felt like Curfman would be the X factor. And I thought we did a good job on him. The two 3-points that he made were in transition and if we look back, maybe off of our turnovers. And I thought we made Kinsey and Taylor earn their stuff.”
Much of the Marshall team’s difference in average points scored coming into the game and what they scored against App State is probably explained by the Mountaineer defensive scheme vs. Curfman. He came into the game average 13.3 points per Sun Belt game and only managed 8 points against the Mountaineers in this one.
“We guarded some guys differently and we guarded some of their actions differently,” Kerns said. “In the first game at Marshall we did a lot of switching. Tonight we did not. I thought our zone (defense) was effective, at least for awhile.”
At times, it may have seemed that the App State offense lacked a sense of urgency, running down the shot clock to near zero before making a move to the basket or lofting a shot from long range. It turns out, as Kerns explained, that the offensive pace was intentional.
“We were wanting to control the tempo and we wanted them to have to guard,” said Kerns. “I think Marshall is ranked 300 and something in Division I in how much time they play defense. They are try to speed you up and get you to take a quick shot so they can go down and play offense again.
“We (controlled) the tempo,” added Kerns. “We did some really good things, but we just turned the ball over too much… We picked a bad night to have a bad night, especially on the offensive end, not like we have doing (in recent games). I feel like 66 points, defensively, should be enough to beat those guys but, like I said, 13 turnovers and 19 points off of them, that is easy offense for them.”
A common thread between the 79-53 loss to Marshall in Huntington, W.V. on Dec. 29 and the narrower defeat on Thursday night was the Thundering Herd’s performance in offensive rebounding. They pulled down 14 on the offensive end in the late December contest and 13 just over a month later. So in addition to the quick scoring opportunities provided by the Mountaineer turnovers, Marshall’s propensity to clear offensive rebounds led to 15 second chance points.
Next up for App State is a rematch with James Madison, on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Holmes Center, with a scheduled 4 p.m. tipoff.
“I told our guys we needed to just move on from tonight’s loss and get ready for the next game. I imagine James Madison will be seeing red when they come in here on Saturday since we beat them up there on Jan. 7,” said Kerns.
The Dukes come to Boone with a 16-8 overall record, 7-4 in Sun Belt Conference play. With the loss, App State falls to 13-11 overall, 6-5 vs. Sun Belt opponents.
SELECTED KEY INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
- MAR Andrew Taylor: 21 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals
- MAR Taevion Kinsey: 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
- MAR Micah Handlogten: 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocked shots
- APP Justin Abson: 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal
- APP Terence Harcum: 14 points, 1 steak
- APP C J Huntley: 7 rebounds, 7 points, 1 blocked shot
- APP Donovan Gregory: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists
SELECTED TEAM STATS
- Field Goal %: APP 39% (22-56), MAR 35.5% (22-62)
- 3-Point %: APP 31.6% (6-19), MAR 25.0% (7-28)
- Free Throws: APP 61.5% (8-13), MAR 83.3% (15-18)
- Turnovers: APP 13, MAR 10
- Points off Turnovers: APP 9, MAR 19
- Second Chance Points: APP 6, MAR 15
- Points from Fast Breaks: APP 4, MAR 14
- Bench Points: APP 7, MAR 14
- Points in the Paint: APP 26, MAR 24
- Biggest Lead: APP 2, MAR 10
- Best Scoring Run: APP 8, MAR 11
- Lead Changes: 4
- Times Tied: 2
- Time With Lead: APP 00:32, MAR 36:46