By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
It doesn’t get any easier for Marshall.
One week ago Marshall dropped a decision to No. 11 Cincinnati. One week later, the Thundering Herd has the tall task of trying to win at No. 23 Kentucky.
How rare is a loss by Kentucky at Rupp Arena? When Kentucky lost to Baylor earlier this season, it snapped a 54-game home win streak for the Wildcats.
There is also the fact that the Wildcats are 11-0 all-time against the Thundering Herd, with the last meeting coming in 2003.
Kentucky (7-3), which won the national championship last season and lost six players to the NBA draft, are still potent, led by the freshman duo of Archie Goodman (15.8 ppg) and Alex Poythres (15.0), the only pair of freshman teammates in the nation to be averaging 15-plus points a game.
The Wildcats, who have also lost to Duke and Notre Dame, have won three straight by an average of 32.6 points a contest since the loss to the Fighting Irish.
Marshall (7-5), which rebounded from the loss to Cincinnati with a 64-48 win over Savannah State, will play again without guard DeAndre Kane (15.0 ppg), who is out with a hand injury.
D.D. Scarver leads the Herd, scoring 15.5 point a game, while Elijah Pittman is tallying 14.3 while becoming the Herd’s top three-point threat. Kane has been replaced at point guard by sophomore Chris Martin and freshman Tamron Manning.
Marshall’s game at Kentucky will be televised on ESPN2. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m.
• Virginia Tech (8-2), which is coming off a surprising 78-73 home loss to Georgia Southern, will play Bradley in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic tonight at 8 p.m.
The Hokies, who have lost two of three since a 7-0 start, will be paced by Erick Greene, the nation’s second leading scorer at 24.8 points a game. He has also dished out 4.9 assists a contest. Jarell Eddie is contributing 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Bradley (8-2) has won three straight since a 74-68 loss to No. 3 Michigan. The Braves are paced by Walt Lemon, Jr. (13.0 ppg, 3.5 ast) and Tyshon Pickett (12.8 ppg, 7.1 reb).
Virginia Tech will play either Colorado State or Portland on Sunday in Las Vegas.
• It will be brother vs. brother as West Virginia (5-5) seeks a return to .500-plus status by hosting Radford of the Big South today at the WVU Coliseum. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m.
Kevin Noreen, a 6-foot-10 sophomore is providing 3.0 points and 3.4 rebounds for the Mountaineers, while Kyle Noreen, a 6-6 sophomore, is contributing 4.4 points and 4.8 boards for the Highlanders.
The Mountaineers rebounded from consecutive losses to Duquesne and Michigan to defeat Oakland 76-71 on Wednesday.
Juwan Staten is the lone West Virginia player scoring in double figures, having averaged 10.8 points a game. He also leads the Mountaineers by dishing out 2.8 assists a contest.
Aaric Murray is contributing 9.7 points and 7.3 rebounds, while Deniz Kilicli has added 7.9 points and 5.1 boards.
Radford (5-6) enters having answered a three-game win streak with a three-game skid, losing last to Charlotte 68-52 on Dec. 19. Javonte Green leads the Highlanders with 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds, while Price is contributing 13.1 points and 2.4 assists.
• Virginia (9-2) will take an eight-game win streak to face Old Dominion today in an neutral site contest in Richmond. That will be preceded by the Richmond Spiders and George Mason in an earlier game.
After starting the season with a 1-2 record with losses to George Mason and Delaware by a combined 10 points, the Cavaliers have flourished, including wins at Wisconsin and against Tennessee.
Joe Harris is contributing 14.7 points and 2.5 assists while Akil Mitchell is tallying 13.5 points and 9.5 boards for the Cavaliers.
Old Dominion (1-10) is in the midst of a rare down season, having lost nine in a row since an 11-point win over Morgan State. Ironically, Virginia’s last outing was a 75-57 over the same Bears.
DeShawn Painter (10.9 ppg, 7.4 reb), Donte Hill (10.2 ppg, 2.8 ast) and Keenan Palmore (8.5 ppg, 5.2 reb, 3.2 ast) lead the Monarchs.
Both games in Richmond will be televised by NBCSN beginning at 2 p.m. Virginia and Old Dominion will start at 5:30.
• The Division I regional women’s slate includes: West Virginia (8-2) Dec. 28, vs. Appalachian State; Virginia Tech (4-5), Dec. 22, vs. Wake Forest; Marshall (6-5), Dec. 22, Tennessee Tech; Virginia (6-4), Dec. 28 vs. Norfolk State.
• The next games for the three local men’s teams includes: Bluefield (6-6, 2-2), Dec. 30 at North Carolina Asheville; Bluefield State (0-9, 0-5), Jan. 5 vs. Concord; Concord (6-2, 2-2), Jan. 3 vs. Charleston.
• The next games for the three local women’s teams includes: Bluefield (10-4, 2-2), Jan. 3; vs. Virginia-Wise; Bluefield State (5-2, 3-2), Jan. 5 vs. Concord; Concord (3-7, 2-2) vs. Jan. 3 vs. Charleston.
— Contact Brian Woodson