MU's Tinnon to enjoy basketball reunion
HUNTINGTON -- Dennis Tinnon is going to a reunion Saturday.
It just happens to be at a men's basketball game when Marshall University and the Houston Cougars meet at 2 p.m., Saturday, in Hofheinz Pavilion.
Tinnon, a senior forward for Marshall, and Houston junior guard Brandon Morris are former teammates at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
"I talked to him yesterday," Tinnon said Thursday before practice. "I told him he better rally his troops because we're coming down there to win.
"We're friends, but we need that win."
Marshall, 12-16 with three regular season games left, is ninth in Conference USA with a 5-8 record. Houston is right behind in the standings at 4-9 and is 15-11 overall.
C-USA teams are contemplating where they'll finish in the standings and whether they'll be in the top five to earn a first-round bye for the tournament March 13-16 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. Everyone wants a bye because those teams will only have to play three tournament games instead of four.
Marshall made it to the championship game last year as the No. 6 seed, but that's a tough road.
Tinnon is approaching the situation as though Marshall has more than three games to go.
"It's about winning," he said. "We need every win we can get."
The 6-foot-8, 232-pound Tinnon averages 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a game in his second Thundering Herd season. He averaged 10.2 points and 10.0 rebounds last season.
Tinnon was a sophomore at KCKCC in 2010-11 when Morris was a freshman.
They helped the Blue Devils go 25-6 in their season together. Tinnon scored 22.6 points a game while leading all junior college players with 13.3 rebounds. Morris had averages of 11.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals.
"Brandon was a tremendous player," Tinnon said.
Morris, a 6-foot guard from Alexandria, La., is contributing 3.1 points, 1.2 assists and 1.9 rebounds in a backup role at Houston.
Marshall was idle Wednesday while Houston went to UTEP and lost, 63-53. Saturday will be the only regular season meeting between the Herd and Cougars, and possibly the final time they meet because Houston is leaving C-USA for the Big East Conference.
Houston's explosive offense leads C-USA with 76.8 points per game and has two players -- Joseph Young and TaShawn Thomas -- ranked in the top four. Young is a 6-3 sophomore tied with Maurice Kemp of East Carolina for the league lead with 17.8 a game and the 6-8 Thomas is fourth with 16.7. Thomas, a junior, is second in the conference with 9.7 rebounds a game.
UTEP took it to Houston inside where John Bohannon and Cedrick Lang combined for 34 points and 27 rebounds.
"We played though the low post probably more than we have," said UTEP head coach Tim Floyd. "They caught it and kicked it when they needed to."
Thomas, who had scored at least 20 in four consecutive games for Houston, was held to nine. Young scored 23 for the Cougars in his 10th 30-point game of the season, a team high he shares with Thomas.
Marshall's plan is to be aggressive, get the lead and continue playing with lots of energy, Tinnon said.