CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marshall's five-game exhibition basketball swing through Canada largely followed Tom Herrion's script, the fourth-year coach confirmed Wednesday.
That blueprint: Acclimate newcomers to major-college-type opposition, allow those who sat out last season to rid themselves of rust, give all players a healthy dose of minutes and test them in a five-day grind.
And win five games. If nothing else, that's what the Thundering Herd did, dusting off four college opponents and a club team.
"It's the middle of August, and there are so many areas we've got to get better at," Herrion said. "The foundations and our identity have formed in the practices and the trip, as far as how hard the kids played. We developed chemistry, bonding, didn't have a lot of distractions, not a lot of communication with people back home."
The Herd pelted Algoma College 99-54, survived a rally to defeat the University of Windsor 84-80, beat Western University of London, Ont., 81-68, smoked McMaster of Hamilton, Ont., 81-56 and downed A Game Hoops, a Toronto-based squad, 83-71.
The McMaster game may have been the Herd's best performance. It was the first time that large school (enrollment 21,035) had hosted a U.S. team in 10 years, and the sweltering gym was half-full and charged up.
But the Herd slaughtered the Marauders, holding them to 4 of 31 from 3-point range. MU assistant sports information director Steven Schoon told of McMaster coach Amos Connolly declaring embarrassment: "I don't think I've seen a game where the entire team didn't have a dunk. I didn't think that was possible."
With the exception of recuperating Yous Mbao, the Herd's 10 players started two or three games each - even Austin Loop, the walk-on who went unused last season. Nobody played more than 26 minutes per game.