Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Marshall Thundering Herd will be looking to pull off an early season upset as they take on the seventh-ranked Louisville Cardinals in the second round of the Global Sports Showcase at KFC Yum! Arena.
The Global Sports Showcase is a five-team, round-robin event played at various campus sites.
The Thundering Herd enter Friday's contest with a 3-0 record after home wins over Jacksonville State (74-55), Savannah State (66-47) and WVU Tech (87-65). Coach Dan D'Antoni's squad has benefited from poor free-throw shooting by the opposition so far, as its three foes have combined to convert only 35.7 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe. D'Antoni, brother of former NBA head coach and Marshall Hall-of-Famer Mike D'Antoni, is in his first season at the school after nine season as an assistant in the NBA. Marshall is coming off of an 11-22 campaign and lost last season's key player, Kareem Canty, after the second-year guard elected to transfer to Auburn.
Coach Rick Pitino's Cardinals are also undefeated thanks to impressive decisions over Minnesota (81-68) and Jacksonville State (88-39). This will be the second of a six-game homestand for Louisville, which has lost just twice in November over the past four seasons. The win over JSU marked the 14th consecutive triumph in a home opener for the Cardinals.
This will be the 16th meeting in history between the Thundering Herd and Louisville. The Cardinals have won 10 of their previous 15 matchups, including an 80-66 victory on Nov. 27, 2010 in the most recent encounter.
Ryan Taylor is pacing the Herd in the scoring column with 18 ppg, while Austin Loop is second on the team at 12 ppg. Taylor has connected on 66.7 percent of his field goal tries and Loop is 10-of-16 from beyond the arc. Shawn Smith (11.3 ppg) and Cheikh Sane (10.7 ppg) are also contributing double-digit scoring averages through three games. As a team, Marshall knocked down 13- of-30 tries from beyond the arc in its most recent outing versus WVU Tech. The Herd have not began a season with four consecutive wins since the 2011-12 campaign.
In the rout of the Gamecocks, Montrezl Harrell led five Louisville players in double figure with 15 points. Terry Rozier added 13 points on 5-of-7 efficiency from the floor, while rookie Chinanu Onuaku registered a double- double with 12 points and 10 boards. Senior Wayne Blackshear also made his mark, recording 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Harrell leads the team and ACC in scoring at 22.5 ppg and is tied for first on Louisville with Mangok Mathiang in rebounding at seven per tilt.