Herd confident after loss to Memphis
HUNTINGTON -- Another defeat, but a better loss than the one before.
Losing is unacceptable in Marshall University men's basketball head coach Tom Herrion's program, but following a 56-point meldown in a mid-week game at Southern Miss, the Thundering Herd regained some of its pride Saturday in a 73-72 loss at Memphis. A crowd of 16,386 spectators watched in 18,400-capacity FedExForum.
"We came in here with every expectation to win and we're disappointed with the loss, but I'm proud of my kids," Herrion said after the game. "They were resilient. They did a great job to just keep battling."
Memphis (16-3 season and 5-0 Conference USA) had leads of 10 and nine points, and Marshall kept coming back.
The Herd never led, but was within 70-69 when Dennis Tinnon grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 1:18 remaining. Some misses from close range and a missed 3-point try by Elijah Pittman that was contested with five seconds left halted the comeback bid.
Pittman was being guarded by D.J. Stephens who might have made contact with the ball, the shooter's hand or both. Herrion said he'll look at the tape to see whether there was contact.
Marshall (9-11, 2-3) played well overall, outrebounded the Tigers by six and had just 13 turnovers.
Dre Kane and D.D. Scarver fired in 22 and 20 points respectively to lead Marshall. Tinnon had nine points and nine rebounds. Pittman also scored nine. Rob Goff contributed six points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots from off the bench.
Scarver's fourth 20-point game of the season came before a group of about 30 or 40 friends and family members from his hometown of Birmingham, Ala.
"He was terrific," Herrion said. "Playing in front of his family is not an easy thing to do."
Memphis guard Joe Jackson scored 16, forward Adonis Thomas had 15 and forward Shaq Goodwin netted 11. Forward Tarik Black had eight points and seven rebounds as a reserve.
Marshall had more field goals (27) than Memphis (24) and both teams made seven 3-pointers. The one-point difference was created by Memphis making 18 of 28 foul shots and Marshall going 11-for-17.
"I thought we played nose-to-nose, punch-for-punch with one of the best teams in America today," Herrion said. "Now our challenge is to do that night-in and night-out through our games left in the conference."
The Herd made the long bus trip home after the game. A two-game homestand against SMU (Wednesday) and UCF (Saturday) awaits.
Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown leads the SMU Mustangs (11-10, 1-5) into Cam Henderson Center. Brown was hired in April when Matt Doherty was relieved of his duties after 11 seasons.
Brown is the only head coach with an NCAA championship and NBA title on his resume. He led the University of Kansas with first-year Tulsa University head coach Danny Manning as the star to the national championship in 1988. He won the 2004 NBA title with the Detroit Pistons.
He is also the only American male to play and coach in the Olympics. He won Olympic gold in the 1964 Tokyo Games and was head coach of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2004 Athens Games.
SMU's losing streak reached three games Saturday with a loss at UCF, 74-65. The Mustangs cut an 11-point deficit to 66-65 on Ryan Manuel's dunk with 1:49 remaining. UCF (14-5, 4-1) stopped the rally with layups by Isiah Sykes and Kasey Wilson before making all four of its foul shots in the final 31 seconds.
Jalen Jones, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward who scored 13, leads SMU with averages of 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds.
Nick Russell had 16 points and the 6-4 junior averages 13.7. Manuel is a 6-4 sophomore scoring 11.9 per game.
SMU doesn't score much, but doesn't give up much either. An average score for the Mustangs is 64.0 to 61.6.