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Marshall douses Firebirds

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 01:17 AM

2K Sports Classic

South Dakota St. (1-2)

vs. Marshall (2-1)

2:30 p.m., Saturday

Mack Sports Complex

Hempstead, N.Y.

Radio: WRVC 930-AM and 94.1-FM

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Marshall's Thundering Herd had a tussle Friday with the University of District of Columbia Firebirds before NCAA Division I strength prevailed in an 80-58 men's basketball 2K Sports Classic victory at the Mack Sports Center.

Forward Dennis Tinnon, who missed Thursday practice because of an academic conflict and didn't start the game per head coach Tom Herrion's policy, came off the bench to score 17 points and snag 12 rebounds.Starters Dre Kane and Elijah Pittman scored 16 and 14 respectively and Nigel Spikes contributed eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Marshall (2-1) has a short turnaround for a 2:30 p.m., Saturday, contest with South Dakota State (1-2). Hofstra, the host school, defeated South Dakota State, 66-63, in the second Friday game.

"We've got a lot of work ahead of us in the next 24 hours," said Marshall coach Tom Herrion in his postgame radio interview. "We've got a long way to go. We're not playing very well."

Marshall concludes the NCAA-exempt event with a 3 p.m., Sunday, game against Hofstra (1-2), which plays Saturday against District of Columbia.

UDC (1-2) an NCAA Division II club, had a 48-42 lead with about 14 minutes remaining when Marshall took off.

D.D. Scarver scored on a layup, Kane went to the basket for a dunk, Tinnon converted a turnover by the Firebirds with a layup and it was a 48-48 tie.

From there Marshall went on a 27-8 run that included a streak of 18 consecutive points and pulled away, 75-54, with 4:35 left left to play.

Pittman led the run with nine points while Tinnon and Chris Martin both tacked on seven.

That came after UDC forged ahead, 37-36, at halftime and had a 48-42 lead with 15:49 left in the game.

"We didn't play very well, obviously, in the first half," Herrion said. "Defensively we had too many breakdowns in the first half. They scored too easily.

"We had a lot more energy (second half) and it led to easy transition points."

Marshall used its height advantage to control the rebounds, 51-26, scored 25 second-chance points and rejected eight shots. The Herd also made its foul shots. Pittman and Tinnon both were 3-for-3 at the foul line and Martin was 3-for-4.

The Firebirds, coached by former NBA player Jeff Ruland, were led in scoring by guards Quasim Jones (12), Michael Terry (11) and Ralph Watts (10).

UDC made five of eight 3-point shots in the first half and was 0-for-8 the rest of the way.

"Our offense wasn't our problem tonight, it was the defense," Herrion said. "They stunned us early. They hit five threes early in the game, 15 of their first 19 points came from the three-point line."

Hofstra beat South Dakota State on a Shaquille Stokes 3-pointer with three seconds to go. South Dakota State pulled even, 63-53, on a Nate Wolters 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining.

NBA scouts are checking out Wolters, a 6-4 senior guard, who had 25 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the defeat. Wolters averages 25.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

Wolters was the only NCAA player last season to average at least 20 points (21.2), five rebounds (5.1) and five assists (5.9).

The Jackrabbits from Brookings, S.C., a 2012 NCAA tournament team out of the Summit League, also have 6-8 Joseph Dykstra averaging 13.7 points and 7.3 rebounds.



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