Second Half Surge Leads to Herd Win over Cougars

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

HUNTINGTON, WVAfter trailing by eight points at halftime, the Marshall men’s basketball team went on a 34-7 run to begin the second half and won 66-58 over Houston Wednesday at the Cam Henderson Center.


Starting with a dunk by Jamir Hanner to end the first half, the total Thundering Herd scoring run was 36-7 in a span of 13:05. Marshall (17-10, 8-5 C-USA) shot 57.6 percent from the field in the second half, which helped the Herd win despite shooting a season-low 22.2 percent (4-for-18) from the free throw line.


“I’m really proud of the group,” said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. “They responded at halftime. We’re thrilled with the win. They (Houston) are a dangerous team. They are really good offensively and have a lot of talent.”


Houston (12-14, 4-9 C-USA) displayed its talent in the first half building its largest lead of the game, 31-21 with 38 seconds to play. The Cougars shot 44.4 percent from the field in the first half while the Herd shot 31.3 percent.


“I thought we played soft and scared,” Herrion said of the first half. “When we miss a free throw, we miss a layup, we turn it over we kind of put our head in the sand a little bit. I thought we came out with great energy in the second half.”


Houston missed its first six field goal attempts to start the second half. Marshall gained its largest lead of 21 points after a Damier Pitts jumper with 5:05 remaining in which the Herd led 61-40.


Pitts led Marshall with 15 points and recorded a game-high six assists. His scoring was done without a three-pointer for the first time this season as he was 0-for-6 from beyond-the-arc.


Senior guard Dago Pena scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and finished the game 4-of-6 from three-point range. All of Marshall’s three-pointers came from Pena as the Herd shot 22.2 percent (4-for-18) from three-point range.


Sophomore guard DeAndre Kane also scored 14 points and added five rebounds and four assists.


Junior forward Dennis Tinnon was one rebound shy of his ninth double-double of the season with nine boards to go with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field.


Marshall was very active on the offensive glass picking up 21 offensive rebounds and winning the rebounding battle 43-40. Junior Nigel Spikes provided a solid defensive presence with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in 17 minutes off the bench.


Houston was led by Leon Gibson and TaShawn Thomas who each finished with a double-double. Gibson had 17 points and 11 rebounds while Thomas had 11 points and 14 rebounds. Marshall held reigning Conference USA Player of the Week Jonathon Simmons to just two points.


The Herd will next be in action on Saturday when it hosts Memphis at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on FSN.

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