Herd falls at home to Tulsa
HUNTINGTON -- The first caller Wednesday night on the Marshall post-game radio show asked, "Is there anything we can do about our shooting?"
Host Woody Woodrum didn't have an answer, and he wasn't alone.
Tulsa had just completed a 73-57 victory at Cam Henderson Center, where the Marshall men's basketball team made only 29.6 percent of its field goal attempts.
It wasn't the worst Marshall shooting performance of the season -- the Thundering Herd hit 28.6 percent in a loss at Memphis -- but it was bad enough to saddle second-year head coach Donnie Jones with his first four-game losing streak.
"I can't tell you exactly why we're not making shots," Jones said after Marshall slumped to a 9-13 season record and a 2-6 mark in Conference USA.
Marshall had a good double-teaming plan for neutralizing Tulsa 7-footer Jerome Jordan, who got into foul trouble, and put up only eight points and had five rebounds.
But, Tulsa had too many other weapons.
Justin Hurtt's 19 points topped the Golden Hurricane. Ray Reese followed with 17, Ben Uzoh scored 12 and Glenn Anderews added 10.
Tulsa (16-7, 6-2) shot 54.3 percent from the field, so obviously the Marshall shooting wasn't the only reason for losing.
"You can't defend the way we defended tonight and beat a team like that," Jones said.
More than half of Marshall's points (29) were from players off the bench, led by Tirrell Baines with 10 on 2-for-8 shooting. Markel Humphrey, Shaq Johnson and Dago Pena each scored eight and were a combined 7 of 17. Damier Pitts (six points) was 2-for-9, Darryl Merthie (six) was 2-for-5 and Chris Lutz (five) made only 2 of 7 shots.
Starting forward Tyler Wilkerson made just one of his four shots and scored five. Jones said Wilkerson was to have an X-ray on his jaw that he feared could be broken.
The Herd connected on six of 22 shots from the 3-point line and didn't take full advantage of its 20 offensive rebounds.
Marshall stuggled through a stretch of more than 11 minutes in the second half without making a shot.
Pitts hit a 3-pointer with 16:59 left, putting Marshall within 34-33 with 16:56 left. Merthie ended the field goal dry spell on a 3-pointer with 5:26 to go after Tulsa had extended its lead to 22 points.
"Everybody has to start making plays and executing the offense better so we can stop scoring droughts," Humphrey said.
Tulsa had a 34-30 lead at halftime and pulled away when Marshall shooters went cold.
The Golden Hurricane was cruising toward victory when Pitts was knocked down on a drive and lost the ball. Reese converted the turnover with a 3-pointer and Marshall called a timeout with 5:39 left. Jones argued the no-call on Pitts and referee Brad Ferrie called a technical foul.
Uzoh made two free throws, giving Tulsa its largest lead, 65-43.
"I was trying to get my team going," Jones said.
Tulsa was putting the ball in play underneath its basket a few minutes later and some of the fans in the crowd of 4,180 seated in the west end zone got on the officials. Marshall volleyball coach Mitch Jacobs was escorted from the arena.
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