Tulane fired from far away
TULSA, Okla. -- Most college men's basketball 3-point shots are taken from right on the 20-foot, 9-inch arc painted on the court.
Sometimes there are questions about whether a shooter's foot touched the painted line, thus nullifying the bonus point.
Tulane players didn't care where the line was Wednesday night. The Green Wave made several from well beyond the arc, including one by Ricky Tarrant with 6.9 seconds remaining in a 66-64 victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd in a Conference USA tournament first round game in the BOK Center.
"They made fives, not threes," said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion.
Tulane's 3-point shooting in the second half - they connected on seven of 11 attempts in the second half after missing their first eight in a 1-for-12 first-half showing - vaulted the Green Wave into Thursday's semifinal matchup between the eighth-seeded Green Wave and top-seeded regular season champion Memphis.
The loss ended Marshall's season with a 13-19 record and the Herd returned home Thursday.
Tarrant's 25-foot bomb off the backboard to win the game came during a controversial finish.
"I think we got surprised how deep they shot it a couple of times," Herrion said. "We had our hand down and didn't contest it."
Marshall guard Dre Kane missed a shot with 43 seconds left and caught an elbow from Josh Davis of the Green Wave in a battle for the rebound. Kane got off the floor holding his jaw and play continued to the other end of the court. Tarrant held the ball while the shot clock wound down to about three seconds before firing his 3-pointer that broke a 63-63 tie.
A timeout was called with 6.9 seconds still on the clock and the officials went to the courtside monitor to review the earlier play. Davis was assessed with a foul and Kane shot two free throws. He missed the first and made the second, putting Marshall within 66-64.
With 6.9 seconds to either tie or win, Kane rushed the ball upcourt and fed Elijah Pittman who missed a 3-point try from the left side with one second to go.
"I had an option to get the layup, but he (a defender) got me off a little bit on the way to the basket and I saw Elijah Pittman open and he's a great shooter," said Kane, who led Marshall with 22 points. "He (Pittman) has been knocking down shots all year, so I got him the ball.
"He got a good look at it, it just didn't sink."
Once inside the quiet Marshall locker room Pittman said he tried to draw a foul on the player guarding him and didn't get the call before he put up a shot that came off the rim.
Pittman scored 12 in the game and Dennis Tinnon of the Herd had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Nigel Spikes added six points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Marshall devised a game plan that mixed zone defense at the beginning with some man-to-man later and the strategy had Tulane off balance for most of the contest. Marshall led 29-20 at halftime and 40-27 with 12:15 left to play. Tarrant had four 3-pointers in the second half when Tulane outscored Marshall, 46-35.
Tarrant's 21 points with five 3-point baskets led Tulane while Davis had 18 points and 12 rebounds.
"I think we were active and aggressive in both man and zone," Herrion said. "We mixed the defenses well. I was scared of the three to be honest with you, and it ended up catching up to us in the second half. The easy thing to say is to go back to the zone, but when they're making threes I'm just not comfortable going back to it. Give them credit. They made big shots. They wanted to win it."
Herrion said his team was pretty efficient on offense in a 47.1 percent shooting performance despite not making many 3-pointers (3-for-16).
Tulane was at 39.3 percent shooting for the game after hitting 53.8 percent in the second period.
Green Wave head coach Ed Conroy praised the energy Marshall had to begin the game.
"They forced us into some tough shots early," Conroy said. "I knew our three-point shooting was out of rhythm. We adjusted at halftime and I think our team did a very good job of executing. We started making the extra pass so that the last guy could get his feet set (to shoot)."
Conroy said the Herd's energy remained the same throughout. His team just executed at the end and made a fortunate shot at the end.