HUNTINGTON — A familiar face from the Marshall men’s basketball sidelines made a return to Huntington on Thursday night.
Dana Altman, who was head coach for the Herd in the 1989-90 season and is currently the head coach at Oregon, was in town to check out Huntington Prep’s JaQuan Lyle on Thursday.
“It’s a little bit different where things have changed a little bit around the stadium, but after 20-some years, a lot is still the same,” Altman said. “It’s good to be back and see some guys. I tried to make a few phone calls and catch a couple of guys. Like I said, it’s been a long time and they wondered what I was calling about, but it is good to get back.”
Altman said he went by his old house after getting into town early in the afternoon, and he even went by Joan C. Edwards Stadium, which was in the process of being built when he left in 1990 to take over at Kansas State.
Fast forward nearly 25 wins and Altman is one win away from joining the elite fraternity of head coaches who have 500 Division I wins.
Altman is currently at 499 following Wednesday’s 78-71 win over Washington. He has a chance to reach the 500-win mark on Sunday when his team takes on Washington State.
In the meantime, Altman was busy trying to establish his future by visiting Lyle, the Huntington Prep guard who is the highest-rated player yet to be signed in the Class of 2014.
Lyle showed off his ability to distribute the basketball, finishing with a game-high 11 assists. He also had 16 points in the win.
The Irish put up a season-high in points for Altman’s visit, defeating Wesley Christian (Ky.) 137-63, but that was not the story of the night.
The night was dubbed “Put Job In” night in honor of Job Tendo, the Huntington Prep manager who dressed for Wednesday’s game at the request of Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford and staff.
Huntington St. Joe’s student section donned shirts that said “Put Job In” and started chanting his name with around six minutes remaining.
Tendo entered the lineup with 5:23 left and scored at the 3:02 mark to count the loudest ovation of the night.
It was the most important basket on a night full of them for the Irish, who had six players finish with 16 or more points.
“It was good to get Job in there and give him a chance to play with the guys,” Fulford said. “He’s as big a part of our family as anyone and has the highest G.P.A. of anyone on our team. He deserved that tonight and we were happy to give him that opportunity. The guys love him and that was probably the loudest cheer of the year when he came in the game.”
Montaque Gill-Caesar started the scoring off with a ferocious alley-oop off the tip and ended the first half in the same fashion as the Irish led by 39 at the break. Gill-Caesar finished with 26 points to lead Huntington Prep.
Thomas Bryant added 24 points and 11 rebounds as the post dominated the contest. Miles Bridges added 19 points, Jalen Lindsey netted 18 points and eight rebounds and Levi Cook finished with 17 points to go along with Lyle’s 16.
Josh Amuzu led Wesley Christian with 20 points while Abraham Onyebuchi added 16. Kelvin Osundu had 10 in the loss.