Tigers turn back Herd
HUNTINGTON — Memphis doesn’t need any help.
Conference USA-leading and 22nd ranked Memphis scored 20 points as a result of Marshall University turnovers and also outrebounded the Thundering Herd in a 71-59 men’s basketball victory Saturday night in Cam Henderson Center.
Memphis has a 22-3 season record and is 11-0 in C-USA after its 16th consecutive victory and its 10th road win in a row that ruined the night for a Marshall turnout of 6,116 spectators, the Herd’s largest crowd of the season.
Marshall, now 11-15 overall and 4-7 in the conference, is tied for eighth place with Houston and UAB.
D.D. Scarver’s 3-point shot capped a good Marshall start with a 10-3 lead, but Memphis overtook the Herd at 14-13 and didn’t trail again.
Memphis had a 16-15 edge before taking off on an 11-0 run to lead, 27-15, and pull away at halftime, 43-26.
“This was clearly a game of two halves for us,” Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. ‘The second was a game of ‘haves,’ and the first half was ‘have nots’ in terms of our defense and our scoring drought.”
Dennis Tinnon opened the second half for Marshall with a basket inside, Elijah Pittman made a foul shot, Pittman gunned in a 3-point shot and Tinnon scored again in an 8-0 run that brought the Herd back to within 43-34 with 15:44 left to play. Memphis misfired on its first seven shots of the half.
Marshall kept plugging away and Tinnon collected the rebound of Pittman’s 3-point miss Pittman took the ball inside and was fouled. Pittman made one of two free throw attempts that reduced the Memphis lead to 46-41 with 10:44 remaining.
Geron Johnson of the Tigers made a 3-pointer and Adonis Thomas tipped in his own miss to put the Tigers back up by 51-41 with 9:34 left to play. Dre Kane followed seven seconds later by making a pair of foul shots that cut the gap back to eight, but Memphis held on.
“You really can’t take a lot from losses, but we played hard,” Kane said. “We didn’t play hard for 40 minutes. We turned the ball over 20 times and got outrebounded again.”
Kane had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Pittman also scored 16 and pulled six rebounds. Tinnon turned in a double-double performance with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Memphis was led by Thomas with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Jackson netted 12 points while Johnson added 11 points and had five assists.
Ferrakohn Hall contributed eight points and four rebounds for Memphis, leading the Tigers to an 18-6 advantage in bench points.
“That’s a good win for us, and we’ll take it,” said Memphis head coach Josh Pastner
Herrion said the numbers spoke for themselves.
— Memphis had 43 points at halftime and scored 28 more.
— The Tigers shot 51.4 percent in the first half and 37.9 percent in the second period.
— Marshall outscored the Tigers by four after halftime.
— Memphis was plus-eight for rebounds in the first half and plus-4 in the game.
— Marshall committed 20 turnovers and Memphis had 14.
“We regrouped at halftime and played like we needed to play,” Herrion said. “We were down 17 against a Top 25 team in the country. You have to play perfect, which we did for a while. We cut it to five, but I think we missed a free throw to cut it to four and then they hit a big three.”
Marshall is back on the road for a Wednesday game at UCF. Marshall beat the Knights, 75-71, on Feb. 2 in Huntington.
The Herd is winless (0-9) on the road this season.
UCF (17-8, 7-4) lost Saturday at UTEP, 73-58.