By Woody Woodrum
Herd Insider Senior Editor
Feb. 4, 2012
TULSA, Okla. – Marshall came into the game at the Donald K. Reynolds Center looking for its first win in the building, as Marshall had never won at the home of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane since joining Conference USA.
Make it 0-6 at TU for the Herd, as Tulsa out-rebounded the Herd (34-to-30), made two more threes and drew nine less fouls than MU on the way to a 79-70 win over the Thundering Herd.
Marshall falls to 14-9 overall, 5-4 and drops to fifth in Conference USA behind Southern Miss, Memphis, Tulsa and UCF, who the Herd will play in Orlando on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
The Golden Hurricane picked up its seventh win in a row in C-USA, since opening the
league 0-2, improving to 14-9, 7-2 and moved one-half game in frontof Memphis for second place.
The Tigers beat Xavier in a non-conference win on Saturday and are 6-2, while Southern Miss leads the league at 7-1.
Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik tied legendary Tulsa coach Clarence Iba with his 137th win at TU, joining Iba (1949-60) – until Tulsa’s next win – as the co-winningest coaches in Hurricane history.
But the game was in doubt right up to the two-minute mark of play, as Marshall battled back to cut a nine-point lead to just four, 71-67, with 2:39 on the clock.
Tulsa’s sophomore guard Jordan Clarkson hit a three with Marshall’s Damier Pitts in his face and just two seconds on the shot clock to push TU back up by seven.
Then a turnover and three-point play on the other end by Clarkson wrapped up the game with 1:16 to go as Tulsa was back up ten then, 77-67.
All that remained was to set the final score, 79-70.
“Obviously, we didn’t guard and we didn’t rebound,” said MU head coach Tom Herrion.
“If we don’t have those two ingredients on the road against a good team, you are not going to win.
“Minus four on the glass and allowing 56 percent defensively is not going to get it with the teams on our schedule the rest of the way.
“A disappointing effort defensively, and we didn’t get any big stops down the stretch, didn’t make any big plays late.”
Marshall didn’t guard the three-point line very well either. Tulsa hit 25-of-45 from the field for 55.6 percent, but the number one defensive team on defending the three-point line also allowed TU to shoot 5-of-11 from three, 45.5 percent.
Marshall was whistled for 28 fouls in the game, and the bulk of those early were on the big men inside.
Tulsa’s Steven Idlet came off the bench to hit 10-for-10 from the line in addition to 3-of-5 from the field to score 16 points, and Marshall was in foul trouble by halftime when Robert Goff, Dago Pena, DeAndre Kane, Damier Pitts, Nigel Spikes and Yous Mboa all had two fouls.
Herrion went to the bench to keep anyone from drawing a third foul, and got a lift from Jamir Hanner, who came in to give the bigs some time, and grabbed six rebounds, four on the offensive glass.
Marshall still was minus-6 at half on the glass, nad Herrion said it was a lift, rebound-wise.
“Jamir gave us some good minutes on the glass, but defensively he has to know his assignments and not have any breakdowns – not just him, but a lot of guys tonight.
“We were in dire trouble foul-wise.”
By the end of the game, Spikes fouled out; Kane drew a technical and finished with four, as did Goff, while Dennis Tinnon, Pitts, Shaquille Johnson and Mboa all finished with three fouls.
Meanwhile, Tulsa only had one player with four fouls, Kodi Maduka, and D.J. Magley and Joe Richard were the only other TU players with three fouls.
Marshall took a two-point lead numerous times in the game, but never more than two.
Tulsa was up 37-30 at halftime, but didn’t get to double-digits until late in the game.
Tulsa made 24-of-33 at the line, while the Herd had one of its best shooting nights from the stripe.
MU hit 23-of-28, for 82.1 percent. Unfortunately, the Herd shot only 22-of-55 from the field (40 percent) and only 3-of-13 from three (23.1 percent).
Pitts and Kane each scored 21 points in the loss, while Tinnon chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds. Kane also had six boards, tied with Hanner for second on the team.
Marshall forced Tulsa into 15 turnovers, only turning the ball over ten times itself, and had 11 steals.
But the Herd was out-scored in the paint 26-30 and out-scored on second-chance points, 11-10, despite having 11 offensive rebounds to just eight for TU.
Clarkson led the Golden Hurricane with 21 points, hitting 7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-3 from three and 5-of-7 at the line.
Tim Peete also came off the bench with 14 pooints on a 5-of-6 night shooting, including 2-of-2 from three.
The Herd will try to sweep UCF on Wednesday in Orlando, having beaten the Knights 65-64 in Huntington back on Jan. 14.
Marshall then will have four home games left on the schedule and only two more on the road.
Next weekend will be a special weekend as Marshall hosts the “Field House Finale.”
It will be a final event at the Herd’s home from 1950-1981, the Cabell County Veterans Memorial Field House.
There will be an alumni game and auction of items from the building, which will be torn down for a new Marshall soccer complex and Veterans Memorial Park.
MU greats scheduled to attend include Hal Greer, a 15-year veteran of the Philadelphia 76ers and one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players; Charlie Slack, still holder of the NCAA record for 25.6 rebounds per game for a season (1954-55); Walt Walowac, who scored over 1,900 points in the early 1950s; Sonny Allen, both a player and an assistant coach at Marshall before winning a national championship at Old Dominion; Greg White, another player, assistant and head coach; former head coaches Bob Daniels and Dwight Freeman; and over 100 former Herd greats.
Tickets are $15 at the Field House, the Park Board office at Heritage Station on Veterans Memorial Boulevard or at the MU ticket office. Call 1-800 The HERD and don’t miss the final event at the Field House on Friday, Feb. 10, before the Herd meets East Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 11.