Tinnon on guard for Marshall
HUNTINGTON -- Dennis Tinnon took only one shot and didn't score in the first half of Wednesday's game and that was OK.
Tinnon sacrificed his scoring for the good of the Marshall University men's basketball team after drawing the assignment of guarding Tulsa's Scottie Haralson.
The 6-foot-8 Tinnon got the job done on the 6-4 Haralson, helping hold him to six points on 3-for-12 shooting, in Marshall's 79-61 victory.
"It's not a tough task," Tinnon said. "Just put your mind to it."
Haralson is one of the best guards in Conference USA. He averages 9.8 points per game as a 35.1 percent 3-point field goal shooter.
Tulsa moved its senior shooter all around the perimeter looking for open shots. Tinnon didn't give up many good looks.
That's why Tinnon was a preseason all-conference selection.
"In order for us to win we had to lock him up," said Tinnon, who ended the victory with six points and 11 rebounds. "I put a hand on him and made sure I knew where he was at all times.
"I was pleased with my effort, as well as the team."
Tinnon will be guarding someone more his size Saturday when Marshall (8-8 season, 1-0 conference) plays at 9 p.m. against UTEP (7-6, 1-0) at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. UTEP is a much taller team with 6-7 Julian Washburn, 6-10 John Bohannon and 6-6 McKenzie Moore as starters and players coming off the bench such as 6-9 Cedrick Lang and 6-8 Chris Washburn.
"Real big, real physical," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said about the Miners.
Marshall's win over Tulsa ended a losing skid at three games.
The Thundering Herd shot better than it has in weeks -- hitting 45.0 percent of its field goal attempts, 37.5 percent of its 3-point tries and 65.0 percent of its free throws.
Twenty turnovers weren't good, but a commanding plus-15 edge in rebounds helped overcome the bobbles.
Forward Elijah Pittman, the team leader with a 14.8 scoring average, tossed in 19 while guards Dre Kane (14.3) and D.D. Scarver (14.2) both scored 16.
Kane is second among C-USA guards with 7.9 assists a game.
Center Nigel Spikes added seven points and nine rebounds while forward Rob Goff came off the bench for eight points and four rebounds.
"It feels a lot better coming into practice," Tinnon said. "It gave us a different type of energy. Everybody is excited we won, and we're going to continue to work hard. All it took was for everybody to act on it. It was just a matter of time.
"We have confidence in each other and it's contagious. You see one guy doing good and you want to be a part of it."
Pittman's 15 early points helped Marshall take control of the game in the first half. The junior's layup less than four minutes into the contest gave Marshall a lead it didn't relinquish. Herrion said is was nice to see the players come out with confidence and get the lead because they've played from behind so much.
UTEP, which won its C-USA opener Wednesday at Tulane (66-57), has played the sixth-strongest schedule in the nation according to the CBSSports.com Rating Percentage Index. The Miners have wins over Oregon and Nebraska with losses to UNLV and Colorado State.
Marshall is winless in three visits to the 12,000-capacity Don Haskins Center where UTEP is 6-1 this season and 482-141 (77 percent) since 1976.
UTEP's home attendance average of 8,310 is second in the conference behind Memphis (16,031) and ahead of Marshall (5,408).
Julian Washburn averages 13.5 points while Bohannon (11.1 points) leads the Miners with 6.2 rebounds per game. Konner Tucker is a 6-4 graduate student scoring 12.8 points since becoming eligible in December. Tucker was Sam Houston State's top scorer last season with a 12.0 average.
Washburn (36.6) and Kane (35.9) play the most minutes in C-USA.
Senior point guard Jacques Streeter averages 9.1 points and 4.9 assists.
Moore of the Miners is a transfer from City College of San Francisco who also became eligible in December and scores 6.2 points.
The teams have both scored the same number of points they've allowed this season -- Marshall 1,115 and UTEP 823.