By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Though it’s not even Halloween yet, a couple of area men’s basketball teams will compete tonight on Marshall University’s new hardwood court.
The Concord University Mountain Lions will visit the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd in a 7 p.m. exhibition contest.
Kent McBride, beginning his third year as Concord head coach, said, “We wanted this year, in the third year, we wanted to test ourselves a little bit, early. Marshall, obviously, is going to be a very good test for us, to see where we are. We’re excited about that game.”
Both teams return five experienced players and will be assessing the development of quite a few new prospects.
Junior guard Mike Boyd led NCAA Division II Concord last season with 122 assists and 34 steals while averaging 11.6 points and 29.9 minutes per game. Woodrow Wilson graduate Cam Shannon, Alex McGlothin, Paul Byrd and Nick Moyer also return to the CU roster.
The additions to the Mountain Lions include 6-foot-9 freshman Grant Dickenson, and Taylor Smith of Mullens, who was named honorable mention all-state while playing for Wyoming East High School.
Marshall, a member of Division I and Conference USA, returns five lettermen — DeVince Boykins, JP Kambola, Tamron Manning, Yous Mbao and Elijah Pittman, the only regular starter still on the roster.
Pittman scored 516 points for Marshall last season, including 65 three-pointers. He was named a C-USA Men’s Basketball Preseason Player to Watch entering the season, and was a C-USA preseason first team pick by College Sports Madness at the forward position.
The Herd lost 74 percent of its shooting from last season, after several players transferred following the season. The newcomers in Huntington consist of four transfers, four freshmen, one sophomore and three juniors.
Expected to see action this year is TyQuane Goard, who helped George Washington High School win the West Virginia Class AAA basketball title in 2011. He sat out last year after transferring to Marshall from Ohio University.
Concord finished last season 16-11 while Marshall was 13-19. The two teams last played in an exhibition game almost three years ago, with MU defeating Concord 112-65 in Huntington. Over the years, Marshall has won 14 of 16 games against the Mountain Lions.
While tonight’s game opens the exhibition season, the Thundering Herd has already gotten games under its belt. From Aug. 16-20, the Herd bused around Canada for five games in five days, covering 1,225 miles. Marshall was 5-0 during its journey.
The game with Concord will be the first on a new $156,500 hardwood floor installed at Cam Henderson Center in late September, replacing the old floor which had been in place for the past 15 years.
Concord begins the regular season on Nov. 8-9 in a tournament at Winston-Salem (N.C.) State. Marshall launches its regular-season campaign on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in Huntington against South Carolina State.
— Contact Tom Bone at