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Marshall called Goff's number

MU basketball
Mar. 10, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Dre Kane called Rob Goff's number Saturday, and the forward answered.

In a regular-season ending defeat at East Carolina (86-79), Goff had his best game for the Marshall Thundering Herd men's basketball team. It was the kind of performance people anticipated when Goff arrived in 2011 as the 18th-rated junior college prospect in the nation.

"I told him, 'You keep scoring and I'm coming right back to you,'" said Kane, the Herd's junior point guard.

Goff was on the court for 32 of the 40 minutes, which matched his career high.

He had 27 points on 12-for-19 shooting -- all career highs -- six rebounds, two assists and three steals (also a career-best) when he fouled out with 44 seconds left in the game at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior scored from underneath the basket, in the lane and on baseline jump shots. The 36.2 percent free throw shooter also made three of four at the line.

"They were calling plays for me," Goff said. "It definitely boosted my confidence."

Marshall was back in town Sunday for a team meeting and has a Tuesday early afternoon practice before leaving for the Conference USA tournament in Tulsa, Okla.

The ninth-seeded Herd (13-18 season, 6-10 conference) and eighth-seeded Tulane (18-13, 6-10) meet in a 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, first-round game in the BOK Center. The winner will play top-seeded regular season champion Memphis (27-4, 16-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Marshall will have a public workout at the tournament site at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

"The feeling of helping my team out makes me want to do it again," said Goff, who's averaging 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds a game.

Goff's late-career surge began earlier in the week with eight points and five rebounds in a victory over Southern Miss on his Senior Day in Cam Henderson Center.

But, Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said it's been going on longer.

"He's been playing with that kind of purpose and energy the last couple weeks," Herrion said. "He's taking good shots. He's making free throws."

Goff played out of his mind Saturday against the Pirates, Kane said.

East Carolina (18-11, 9-7), seeded fourth in the tournament, beat Marshall with it specialty -- 3-point shooting.

The Pirates made (233) and attempted (668) more 3-pointers than anyone in the conference regular season and were 10-for-20 against the Herd.

Pirates' point guard Miguel Paul scored 22 with four 3-pointers, forward Maurice Kemp added 21 points and guard Akeem Richmond scored 18 while also making four 3-pointers.

Marshall trailed by 10 at halftime and battled back to lead with about seven minutes remaining.

"We just have to do a better job of getting (defensive) stops down the stretch," Herrion said.

Herd forward Elijah Pittman netted 21 points and Kane popped in 20.

Kane also had 12 assists compared to Paul's 10 and finished as the conference leader with 7.1 per game to 6.9.

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