Freshmen duo helps Herd top Eagles
HUNTINGTON -- DeVince Boykins picked a good time to get his first college basket.
Boykins, a redshirt freshman at Marshall University playing in his third game, buried a 3-point shot Saturday against Coppin State that put the Thundering Herd men's basketball team within 46-42 with 13:25 left in a 69-63 victory over the Eagles in Cam Henderson Center.
He was then joined on the court by true freshman Tamron Manning and they combined to provide a spark defensively.
"Things turned around when they came in," said Marshall center Nigel Spikes.
Marshall (6-4) went to a 2-2-1 zone trap full-court press and it halted Coppin State's momentum.
Boykins stole the basketball and fed Elijah Pittman for a dunk that tied the game, 46-46, with 12:25 left. Then, Boykins pulled down a defensive rebound and Manning assisted Pittman for a 3-point basket and Marshall's first lead at 49-48 with 9:51 to go.
The Herd was back in it, and so was the home crowd of 5,152 spectators.
"They're both real good defenders," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. "It changed the tempo. It got the crowd involved."
Coppin State (1-8) went back ahead by six on Michael Murray's layup and 3-pointer and Patrick Cole's layup.
Marshall responded with D.D. Scarver sinking consecutive 3-pointers. Dennis Tinnon converted a three-point play off Scarver's feed and the Herd led, 58-57, with 2:45 remaining.
Scarver, who netted 20 points, said he had confidence in his shots and knocked them down.
"The biggest thing was we were supposed to find 23 (Scarver)," Coppin State head coach Fang Mitchell said. "We're still looking. When they made the big run he hit two and we didn't have anybody close to him."
The Herd finished with three baskets by Dennis Tinnon, one of them after getting the rebound of a missed foul shot, and made eight of its final 10 free throws.
Tinnon had 15 points and 15 rebounds for his 15th double-double in two seasons -- 11 of them in wins.
Pittman tacked on 14 points and Spikes collected 11 rebounds as Marshall dominated the backboards by a 47-29 margin. Dre Kane handed out 11 assists.
Marshall shot 58.3 percent in the second half and 41.9 percent for the game, but continued missing numerous chances around the basket.
"We missed a lot of shots and coach really got on us," Spikes said. "Games like this, we can't have."
Pittman, an 84.4 percent free throw shooter going in, was 0-for-4 to join Marshall's other struggling shooters at the foul line. The Herd was 10-for-19 on free throws fof 52.6 percent.
Marshall is a 59.8 percent free throw shooting team, which ranks last in Conference USA.
Notes: Marshall has made a 3-point shot in 689 consecutive games. ... Sophomore Chris Martin made his first career start in place of Kane, who sat for the first three minutes because of a coach's decision. ... Kane played for 37 of the 40 minutes. ... Boykins and Manning set career highs for minutes with 11 and 12, respectively. ... The Herd committed a season-low nine fouls.