Herd a victim of Tulsa's streak
HUNTINGTON -- Momentum was everything for Tulsa and fleeting for Marshall's Thundering Herd.
Tulsa, the hottest team in Conference USA men's basketball, has a seven-game win streak after Saturday's 79-70 home-court defeat of Marshall in the Donald W. Reynolds Center. The Golden Hurricane rose to second place at 7-2 and are 14-9 for the season.
"It does feel good, but we can't be satisfied," said Tulsa guard Jordan Clarkson after a 21-point game. "We have to get back and get into practice and work hard like we have been. That's the reason why we're here now. We have to keep playing hard."
Marshall, fifth in the standings at 5-4, had momentum only briefly in a loss that dropped the Herd to 14-9 overall.
Tulsa had a 37-30 halftime lead after going up by eight with 1:43 left before the break. Marshall regrouped in the locker room and came out with some energy.
Rob Goff made a jump shot, Dre Kane drove for a basket and made a free throw, Damier Pitts penetrated for two points following Kane's steal and Nigel Spikes scored on a layup after a Shaq Johnson steal in a 9-0 run that put the Herd in the lead, 39-37, with 16:09 left to play.
Tulsa regained the lead and extended it to 10 points in the final two minutes when the Golden Hurricane thwarted Marshall's late rally.
For the fourth consecutive game, Tulsa shot better than 50 percent in a season-best 55.6 percent performance.
The Golden Hurricane was only the third team this season with more rebounds than the Herd, 34-30.
"Obviously, I was a little disappointed with our defense," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. "I didn't think we defended or rebounded like we have to and need to and that we should. Let a team shoot 55 percent from the floor and then we get out-rebounded, which doesn't happen very often.
"That's obviously the tell-tale of the game in my opinion. That really speaks for it."
Clarkson, forward Steven Idlet (16) and guard Tim Peete (14) led Tulsa's scoring. Idlet and Peete led the Tulsa bench to a 30-5 scoring advantage over the Marshall reserves.
Forward D.J. Magley of the Golden Hurricane had nine rebounds.
Kane and Pitts both tossed in 21 points for Marshall and Dennis Tinnon scored 12 while grabbing nine rebounds. Kane and Jamir Hanner, who played six minutes off the bench, both collected six rebounds.
"We did a terrific job rebounding," Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik said. "They average 16 offensive rebounds a game in conference and we hold them to 11, and everyone was a part of that.
"That was a big part of the game -- rebounding, rebounding, rebounding and our guys really responded."
Fouls and foul shooting were other important parts of the game.
Marshall committed 28 personal fouls and Kane was called for a technical for protesting a turnover. Six Marshall players had two fouls in the first half, forcing Herrion to go to the bench for help. Nigel Spikes fouled out while Goff and Kane both ended the night with four.
Tulsa's 19 fouls put Marshall on the free throw line often and the Herd responded with its best effort of the season, 23 of 28 for 82.1 percent.
Idlet topped Tulsa's 24-for-33 free throw shooting by making 10 of 10.
Herd, UCF rivalry gets 'heated'
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall and UCF continue their heated rivalry Wednesday night in Orlando, Fla.
Marshall leads in the all-time series, 8-5, and defeated UCF two times in three meetings since coach Donnie Jones left the Thundering Herd to lead the Knights following the 2009-10 season, including a 65-64 victory Jan. 14 in Cam Henderson Center.
Last season, after UCF took a 65-58 win at home, Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said, "They sweated us out" in a hot and humid arena. At least three Herd players suffered from leg cramps during the game.
Apparently, UCF took offense to being accused of turning up the temperature.
A promo for Wednesday's 7 p.m. game in UCF Arena on the school website (www.ucfathletics.com) says "Heat Up The Herd" with some of the Knights in a photo surrounded by flames.
-- Rick McCann