Herd wins first road game
ORLANDO, Fla. — Contributions came from everywhere Wednesday night to help Marshall University men’s basketball win on an opponent’s court for the first time this season.
Marshall’s 82-70 triumph at UCF stopped a road losing skid at nine games. A small turnout of 4,736 spectators in 10,000-seat UCF Arena included a sizable contingent rooting for Marshall center Nigel Spikes who is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“It was a great win,” Spikes in a postgame radio interview. “This was like a business trip for us and we took it very serious.”
The Thundering Herd had its best field goal percentage of the season (54.2), one of its highest free throw percentages (66.7) and banged the Knights on the backboards, 42-32, to help offset 21 turnovers.
Elijah Pittman pumped in 20 points to lead four Marshall players in double figures.
Dre Kane scored 19 with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. D.D. Scarver had 16 points with three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Dennis Tinnon came off the bench for 14 points and 15 rebounds in his seventh double-double performance.
“Really proud of our kids,” Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. “They’ve been tremendous through some of our inconsistent troubles. They’ve had a good attitude. It came together for us tonight. I thought we played with great energy.”
Marshall (12-15, 5-7 Conference USA) stretched a 16-point halftime lead to 22 at 71-49 on Tamron Manning’s 3-point shot with 9:17 left to play.
UCF answered with a 10-point run in a surge that brought the Knights back to within 73-65 with 4:23 to go.
After the knights reduced their deficit to eight, Kane drove the length of the court and was fouled as he went to the basket. Kane’s free throws restored a double-figure lead with 4:16 remaining.
The Herd pulled away 80-66 on two Pittman free throws with 2:03 left. Kane controlled the ball for most of the remaining two minutes.
Isaiah Sykes led the Knights (17-9, 7-5) with a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double, Calvin Newell scored 16 and Keith Clanton added 10 points.
“We did a good job,” Herrion said. “They made the run and we lost a little bit of our poise. We never had a panic. We settled ourselves back down and put the ball in DeAndre’s (Kane) hands.”
UCF had an early 10-8 lead on a Sykes layup before Scarver fired in a 3-point shot, Pittman had a dunk and Kane drove for a layup in an 11-2 run that put Marshall on top, 19-12, with 12:52 left in the first half.
Tinnon’s dunk made it a 16-point lead entering the final minute of the half and Marshall held a 48-34 advantage at the break.
“They were on top of their game and we didn’t play well at all,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said.
Marshall completed a season sweep after also beating UCF, 75-71, on Feb. 2 in Cam Henderson Center.
It was the final game between the teams as C-USA rivals with UCF leaving next season for the Big East Conference. The knights are not eligible for postseason play this year because of NCAA sanctions.
The Herd won the first game of the series Jan. 11, 2006, at UCF, and ended it the same way with its 10th win in 16 meetings.
Marshall’s annual Alumni Basketball Game is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in Cam Hendereson Center. Admission is free, but the arena will be cleared afterward.
The Herd plays UAB at 7 p.m. The Blazers (12-14, 4-7) were idle Wednesday.