Marshall basketball team returns home, receives warm greeting

Marshall player Phil Bledsoe of Wheeling signs an autograph for a Herd fan. MU players and coaches received a warm greeting when they returned to campus Monday after playing in the NCAA tournament. (WCHS/WVAH)

After a historic appearance in the NCAA tournament, Marshall University men’s basketball players and coaches returned home to a warm greeting from appreciative fans, who turned out to cheer, to give hugs, to get autographs and to snap pictures.

"We've done something we've never done before," Marshall fan Dave Anderson said.

Anderson drove into Huntington from Louisville, Ky., to let Herd players know how proud he was of their work.

"You never quit." You kept giving it everything you have, and you had higher goals than you were able to reach this time, but the story isn't done yet," he said.

The plane carrying the team touched down Monday afternoon at Tri-State Airport, where there was a small group gathered to welcome the Herd.

Back on campus near the Cam Henderson Center, a large group of fans wearing green turned out to applaud the team as the school’s fight song, “Sons of Marshall” played in the background. Young and old residents were there to greet the players and to say thank you for all of the hard work they put in this season. Many had players pose for photos with them so they could have a keepsake.

“We are proud of you Danny,” one woman told Herd Head Coach Dan D’Antoni. “We are proud of the boys."

The Herd lost in the second round of the tournament over the weekend in San Diego, Calif., to West Virginia University, 94-71.

Despite the end to its tournament run, the squad marked some historic moments for the school. Marshall, the No. 13 seed, won the opening game against No. 4 seed Wichita University, 81-75, in the first round. It was the first time the Herd had competed in the tournament in 31 years, and the win against Wichita was Marshall’s first win ever in the NCAA tournament.

Marshall competed in the state rivalry game against WVU for a shot at making the Sweet 16 in the tournament.

The Herd won the Conference USA championship by defeating Western Kentucky and finished the season with a 25-11 record.

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