PHILADELPHIA - Junior D.D. Scarver erupted for 22 points, but it was not enough as the Marshall men’s basketball team dropped its first game of the season, 80-68 at Villanova Sunday.
The Thundering Herd fell to 1-1 on the young season while the Wildcats improved to 2-0. The game, played in front of 6,500 at The Pavilion, was Marshall’s first of four in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
Scarver’s 22 points came on 8-of-14 shooting from the field including an impressive 5-for-7 from three-point range. In his two games at Marshall, the transfer from Trinity Valley Community College has averaged 20 points per contest.
The Wildcats had their own sharp-shooting newcomer in freshman Ryan Arcidiacono. Of his game-high 25 points, 20 came in the first half. Arcidiacono finished 6-of-11 from the field including 4-of-9 from three-point range.
Usually an excellent rebounding team, Marshall struggled in that area. Villanova had 37 boards while the Herd finished with 23 and only three offensively.
“It was really disappointing that we didn’t defend in the first half and then the rebounding,” said coach Tom Herrion. “I know they’re a good rebounding team, but for us to have only three offensive rebounds is really concerning. If we don’t guard and rebound we have no chance.”
The game was tight throughout. Each time Villanova stretched its lead just eight or nine points, Marshall would answer with a small run of its own. Sophomore Chris Martin hit several big shots to keep it close, finishing with a career-high 13 points on five field goals, three from beyond-the-arc.
The Herd held a slim lead of 7-6 early in the game and after trailing at the half 43-35, came within two points of the Wildcats in the second period. A Scarver three cut the Villanova lead to 59-57 with 9:24 to play, but the home team scored the next seven points to extend the lead to nine (66-57, 8:50). A Martin three-pointer cut the Wildcat lead to 70-68 with 4:01 remaining capping an 11-4 run.
However, the Villanova defense tightened and Marshall missed its remaining six shot attempts to end the game in front of an announced crowd of 80-68. The final margin of 12 was the Wildcats’ largest lead.
Both teams shot well from the floor as Marshall was 45.3 percent including 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from three-point range. Villanova was 50 percent including 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from beyond-the-arc.
Both teams also had their share of turnovers, 17 from the Wildcats and 16 by the Herd.
The biggest difference in the game was at the foul line. Marshall committed 26 fouls which allowed Villanova to get to the free throw line 37 times. The Wildcats made 25 of them for 67.6 percent. Villanova was whistled for 13 fouls which resulted in the Herd’s 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) effort at the free throw line.
“We were in dyer foul trouble,” Herrion said. “Thirty-seven to 15 at the foul line, that’s a tell-tale sign for a long afternoon. Clearly we didn’t play without fouling and didn’t adjust to the whistle. For 40 minutes we needed to do a better job.”
Junior Dennis Tinnon joined Scarver and Martin in double-figures with 15 points to go with nine rebounds. Both he and junior Elijah Pittman finished 4-of-7 from the field. Pittman finished with 12 points, nine coming from three-point range as he was 3-of-5 from there.
Marshall will stay on the road for three more games, playing the University of District of Columbia next Friday at 4:30. All three games that weekend will be played on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
“We got beat with some of our own medicine and that’s unacceptable. That’s what’s good about these early games is that you can find out a lot about your team early on playing against high caliber teams. This game, win or loss wasn’t going to define our season. We have a lot of season left.”