Memphis edges Marshall, 73-72
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marshall's Thundering Herd completed an 0-2 road trip Saturday that ended a lot better than it began.
Memphis held off Marshall in the final minutes of a 73-72 men's basketball victory three days after Southern Miss hammered the Herd by 56 (102-46) in the most one-sided game ever played between Conference USA teams.
Marshall head coach Tom Herrion never accepts losing, but said he liked Saturday's effort.
"We clearly showed a lot of character in the last 72 hours," Herrion said.
Memphis, now 16-3 overall and 5-0 in its final Conference USA season before joining the Big East, continued its dominance of league opponents. The Tigers are 70-3 against C-USA foes in FedExForum since the 2005-06 season.
Marshall has three victories in the arena just off Beale Street, but they were against other teams last season in the C-USA tournament. Marshall is 2-12 all-time against Memphis, 1-11 as C-USA members and 0-5 for games played in FedExForum.
The Herd remains winless (0-7) this season on the road.
Elijah Pittman's 3-point miss with five seconds to go prevented Marshall (9-11, 2-3) from taking its only lead of the afternoon.
Tigers guard Joe Jackson (16 points) made a foul shot that put the home team ahead, 71-69, with 1:03 remaining.
Marshall had other chances to tie or lead in the final minute. Dre Kane missed on a drive, Nigel Spikes collected the rebound and Marshall called a timeout with 40 seconds left. Kane missed again inside and Pittman's tip-in attempt didn't go in before D.D. Scarver fouled Geron Johnson of the Tigers with 21 seconds on the clock.
Johnson missed both of his foul shots, keeping the gap at two points, and Herrion called another timeout with 14 seconds left.
Scarver and Kane touched the basketball before Pittman missed the 3-point attempt for the lead.
"That's a dangerous team," Memphis head coach Josh Pastner said. "That's a good win for us. The guys stepped up in the end to get some stops and we got the W."
Kane's 3-pointer with no time left gave him 22 points along with his five rebounds, four assists, two steals and three turnovers in 36 minutes. Scarver, playing in front of a contingent of 30 to 40 people from his Birmingham, Ala., hometown, tossed in 20 points with a trio of 3-pointers, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and four turnovers.
Pittman wasn't in the starting lineup because of some flu-like symptoms and scored nine from off the bench.
Dennis Tinnon had nine points and nine rebounds. Rob Goff also provided support off the bench with six points and seven rebounds.
Marshall hit its season mark with 41.5 percent field goal shooting while making 11 of 17 free throws and committing 13 turnovers. The Herd outrebounded the Tigers by plus-six.
"Obviously, I'm proud of our kids," Herrion said. "Tremendous fight today against a very good Memphis club in this environment. We just battled our brains out."
Memphis also had Adonis Thomas and Goodwin as double-figure scorers with 15 and 11 respectively. Tarik Black had eight points and seven rebounds.
The Tigers shot 48.0 percent from the field and made 18 of 28 free throws.
Black had two baskets in an 8-0 first-half run when Memphis built a 28-18 advantage. Scarver's drive tied the teams 31-31 and Memphis went to halftime leading 38-33.
Jackson's layup on a goaltending call against Goff put Memphis ahead, 58-49 with 9:07 left to play.
Attendance in 18,400-capacity FedExForum was 16,386.
Memphis goes on the road for three of its next four games.and Marshall comes home for two beginning Wednesday against SMU (11-10, 1-5). SMU lost Saturday at UCF, 74-65.
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