Ohio Downs Marshall, 65-64, In Nip-and-Tuck Affair

Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University

Herd finishes season with 22 wins

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Ohio Bobcats advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament as they rallied for a 65-64 win over the Marshall University men’s basketball team in Tuesday’s opening round of the tournament at the Cam Henderson Center.

Ohio (19-15) found themselves down by three at halftime, 36-33, following a controversial call to end the first half.  Marshall (22-12) had the ball with 2.0 seconds left in the first half.  DeAndre Kane knocked down a three, but it was ruled that the half had ended.  OU rallied out of the half to take its first lead and, following 13 lead changes, would hang on for the victory.

“I am not real good at this one. It is the realization that the season is over. There is not a whole lot left to do,” head coach Tom Herrion said.  “Our fans were phenomenal. I applaud them greatly. I want to share on behalf of the program how much we appreciate their support throughout the season. Tonight was a great indicator of how passionate a fan base we have.”

“We played pretty hard. We just had a kid sitting here who had 19 rebounds. I’m not sure we played real smart at sometimes.  Ohio made a couple more plays than us. They had an extra possession or two that they made and we didn’t.  I want to congratulate Ohio.”

Things looked like they were going the Herd’s way at the start as Marshall opened up a quick 6-0 lead.  Nigel Spikes scored four of MU’s first six points.  Damier Pitts’ second field goal of the game put MU up 8-1 three minutes into the game, that would be the largest advantage the Herd would enjoy in the contest.

The Bobcats made a quick 11-5 spurt to get within a point, 13-12, with 13:24 left in the half and with just over ten minutes left in the period, a layup and free throw by T.J. Hall knotted the game at 20-20.  The contest remained close over the final part of the half until a trey by Pitts gave MU a 32-27 lead with 3:16 left before Ohio would cut it to three, 36-33 at the break.  A made trey at the buzzer by Kane was ruled no good.

Ohio U. carried their first-half momentum into the final stanza, taking their first lead with 18:11 left in the game as DeVaughn Washington hit a layup to give OU a 39-38 advantage.  Marshall quickly fought back as a Tirrell Baines dunk followed by a Johnny Thomas shot jumper put MU back up three, 42-39.

With OU up 52-51 mid way through the final period, a quick 5-0 run by Marshall, which was comprised of a pair of Shaq Johnson free throws and a Pitts trey, seemed to sway the momentum, but the Bobcats countered with a Tommy Freeman three to make it a 56-55 game in favor of the Herd.

A second half, which featured a season-high 13 lead changes, came down to the final minutes.  Ohio enjoyed its largest lead of three points, 61-58, with under five minutes left.  A Baines dunk cut the lead to one before a Pitts jumper put Marshall back on top, 62-61, with 2:44 remaining.

Following buckets by each team, a D.J. Cooper bucket with 1:30 would prove to be the difference.  On the ensuing possession, the Herd hauled in three offensive boards, but was unable to convert.  Two more shots by the Herd in the final 30 seconds fell short as OU held on for the victory.

In his final game for the Herd, Baines led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds.  He finishes his career with 1,238 points, 27th on the all-time list.  His effort against OU pushed him ahead of Mike D’Antoni on the list.  He also made other marks on the record book.  Baines finishes his career as the No. 9 most accurate shooter, hitting 52.7% of his shots, third on the games played list with 124, 16th in rebounds with 656 and 17th overall with 299 free throws.

Nigel Spikes put up a career-high 19 rebounds along with six points and a pair of blocks.  His total of 19 boards marked the highest since November 15, 2009 when Tyler Wilkerson recorded 20 against North Carolina A&T.

Orlando Allen, the other senior on the squad, did not play on Tuesday after injuring his reinjuring his knee.  He played one season at Marshall after playing his first three years at Oklahoma.

Leading Ohio was DeVaughn Washington, who scored 16 points.  Three other players finished with ten points for the Bobcats.

Marshall finishes its season with 22 wins, its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1987 and ’88 seasons.

~www.HerdZone.com~

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