Herrion: Kane's improvement set tone for MU win over Tulsa
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -DeAndre Kane showed Marshall fans Wednesday night that, yes, he is back, and he can balance point-guard duties with his more natural "two guard" talents.
In the days leading to the Thundering Herd's 79-61 dismantling of Tulsa at Cam Henderson Center, Kane showed he can lead his team through adverse situations such as the aftermath of an ugly three-game losing streak.
"His last two days of practice were outstanding and that's what set the tone for our group, in my opinion," said Herd coach Tom Herrion.
Herrion's group laid pretty much the same whipping on Tulsa that it suffered four days earlier at Ohio. The 18-point margin of victory was deceptive, as the Herd led by 25 or more at several points of the second half.
In his second game back from a four-game absence caused by a hand injury, Kane scored 16 points, but that was a small part of the story. He hit 6 of 9 from the floor and 4 for 6 from 3-point range, putting at least a temporary end to a season-long shooting slump.
Entering the game, Kane's field-goal percentage was just .354 and he was 7 of 45 (.156) from 3-point range. His four 3-point goals were his most in a game since his freshman year, when he did it three times.
Perhaps Kane's improvement there was a simple matter of taking the shot only as a third or fourth option. He had seven assists, four in a span of 1:38 down the stretch in the first half. Correspondingly, the Herd expanded its 26-12 lead to 38-15.
Kane fed four different players for baskets, varying from Elijah Pittman's four-point play to dunks by Robert Goff and Dennis Tinnon.
The Herd shot 45 percent as a team, its highest level since another decisive victory, 89-82 over Nevada way back on Nov. 24. That included 12 3-pointers, tying the season high, on 32 attempts.
"There's no coincidence, in my opinion," Herrion said. "With DeAndre getting his legs back again, he's got the ability to get guys the ball in the right spot at the right time. When you're a shooter or a scorer, you've got to get the ball rhythm. We want our shooters to shoot open shots. We've got good-enough shooters."
That might just include Kane, once again.
"They played a ton of zone. We made a lot of shots early, not against the zone - we made them in transition," Herrion said. "We had guys spotting up, they all were moving. We had bigs running the lane, which they sucked guys in, in transition. We shot open shots.
"Thirty-two's a big number for us, probably too many. Kane gets his hand back, he shoots 4 for 6."
At that point, Herrion couldn't resist a jab at Kane: "Now he'll become the shooting doctor."
Other odds and ends from the Herd's much-needed romp:
With Marshall hogging most of the misses - 33 defensive boards vs. Tulsa's eight on offense - the Herd offense often had a head start at the other end.
"We had a game plan we thought was good," Herrion said. "I felt good about it Sunday night watching the game against SMU [Tulsa won 48-47]. When I was able to shut my eyes a little while Sunday night, I felt like - I'm not saying we were going to shut them down like that, but I felt like we had a good plan coming in Monday morning with our guys, in terms of what we wanted to execute defensively."
As a team, the Herd enjoyed its sixth double-digit advantage, with a 5-1 record in those games.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.