Marshall edges Coppin State
HUNTINGTON -- Dennis Tinnon and Nigel Spikes missed layups the first time Marshall University had the basketball.
Right away, it was looking like another long night for Thundering Herd shooters.
Coppin State jumped to a quick 6-0 lead and Marshall men's head coach Tom Herrion used two timeouts trying to turn things around.
"I don't think I've ever used two timeouts that early," Herrion said. "That speaks for how I felt."
Fortunately, Marshall players listened to their coach.
After the visiting Eagles (1-8) carried the lead into halftime, Marshall shot better and turned up its defensive pressure to record a 69-63 victory Saturday night in front of a Cam Henderson Center turnout of 5,152 spectators.
Tinnon said Herrion had a long talk at halftime.
"Coach said defense is going to win this game," Tinnon said. "He just told us to turn it up."
Coppin State had a 12-point lead in the first half and went in at halftime up 34-26. The Eagles were shooting 53.8 percent and sank five of nine 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes while Marshall was mired at 31.6 percent from the field and 2-for-16 shooting 3-pointers.
Marshall (6-4) went to a 2-2-1 zone trap defense and the Eagles cooled off while the Herd began converting on its way to 58.3 percent second-half shooting.
The Herd pulled within four points on three occasions, and finally pulled even, 46-46, on Elijah Pittman's dunk with 12:25 left to play.
Pittman's 3-pointer put Marshall ahead for the first time, 49-48, with 9:51 remaining, but the Eagles weren't finished.
Coppin State went ahead, 53-49, with 6:12 to go on a layup and 3-pointer by Michael Murray, who led the Eagles with 18 points.
D.D. Scarver, who scored 20, made a pair of 3-point shots for Marshall, Tinnon scored on a pair of layups and the Herd sank eight of 10 free throws in the final 2:45.
Marshall's pressure and zone defenses in the second half throttled the Eagles. True freshman Tamron Manning and redshirt freshman DeVince Boykins entered from off the bench and provided a spark.
"They put the pressure on us and we didn't handle it," said Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell.
Boykins played for 11 minutes in his third career appearance and scored his first Marshall points on a 3-point shot in the second half. He also notched his first career rebounds (three) and his first assist and steal.
Manning was on the court for 12 minutes.
"Tamron Manning and DeVince Boykins played real good minutes when we turned up the heat with the pressure," Herrion said.
Scarver's 20 points included 4-for-9 shooting from the 3-point line. Tinnon had a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double. Pittman scored 14 and Nigel Spikes grabbed 11 rebounds.
Dre Kane wasn't in the starting lineup because of a coach's decision, but got in early and played for 37 of the 40 minutes. The Herd point guard had nine points, 11 assists, five rebounds, two steals and four turnovers.
Marshall committed nine turnovers in the first half and had only four more. The Herd missed both of its foul shots in the opening period and went 10-for-17 the rest of the night.
Tinnon and Spikes led the Herd to a 47-29 edge in rebounds that included 20 on offense.
"We had 26 made baskets with 21 assists," Herrion said. "We are being unselfish. We are moving the ball. We still cannot put the ball in the basket around the lane. It's killing us early in the game."
Fall semester classes end Tuesday and final exams begin Wednesday while the team prepares for a Saturday game against 11th-ranked Cincinnati (9-0) in the Charleston Civic Center.
The Cincinnati Bearcats rolled Saturday against winless Maryland-Eastern Shore, 92-62.