After an evenly fought first quarter, the Marshall Buffalos went on a 19-4 run in the second quarter to lead 30-19 at halftime, and they never looked back as they beat Willowridge 70-37 last Tuesday at Hopson Fieldhouse.
Willowridge played the Buffalos tough in the first quarter as they jumped to a 7-4 lead, but they couldn’t hold it and Marshall led 11-10 at the end of the quarter. The Buffalos found their stride in the second quarter as Anthony Norman scored seven points, and Terrell Wilson and Payton Stewart had four points each.
Wilson stayed hot in the third quarter as he scored nine of the Buffalos 15 points, while Willowridge was held to eight points. Wilson went on to score eight points in the fourth quarter as the Buffalos won 70-37.
Wilson led the Buffalos with 25 points, and Stewart added 17. Willowridge was led by Xavier Calhoun with 16 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter.
The Buffalos are now 12-5 in Coach James Bailey’s first season at Marshall.
“We are on the learning curve. We have some guys who are young and new to varsity,” he said. “Guys coming up from the junior varsity and the freshman team. We only have one guy with major varsity experience. Anthony Norman was the starting point guard last season, and we have Terrell Wilson, who is a tremendous point guard. He is very smart with the ball, and a great ball handler. Both guys will handle the ball for us. We will see who else steps up. Our rotation changes every game. We grade basketball efficiency and that is how we decide our starting lineup.”
The Buffalos under Coach Gary Nichols finished second in the state in Class 5A last season. After the season, Nichols retired and Bailey, a former player of Nichols at Willowridge, was named head coach. After Willowridge, Bailey played at Bradley University under Coach Stan Albeck.
At Bradley University, the National Association of Academic Advisers for Athletics honored James in 1992 as one of the top 10 athletes in the nation, and he was voted 1990 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason New Comer of the Year and to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Academic 1st Team in 1991 and 1992.
After graduating from Bradley, Bailey played in several international leagues and he has coached for the last 24 years. His head coaching experience includes time at Willowridge, Kempner and Summer Creek. His record as a head coach entering this season is 289-115.