Marshall Falls at ECU in Overtime, 69-68

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Marshall Falls at ECU in Overtime, 69-68

GREENVILLE, N.C.  – Marshall shot over 55 percent from the field for two halves, but a 1-for-11 overtime period and 20 turnovers doomed the men’s basketball team in a 69-68 loss at East Carolina Wednesday.

“Give East Carolina credit,” said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. “But I’m really disappointed with us. Twenty turnovers out of nowhere and we’ve been the third-best team in the conference taking care of the ball. We contributed mightily to the loss. This is a disappointing loss for us.”

The Thundering Herd (17-12, 8-7 C-USA) was led by Damier Pitts and DeAndre Kane with 17 points each.

Junior forward Dennis Tinnon recorded nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Marshall outrebounded the Pirates 40-25 and scored 20 second chance points off its 14 offensive rebounds. However, ECU (13-15, 4-11 C-USA) scored 24 points off Marshall turnovers and committed just 11 turnovers on the night.

“I thought we played weak with the ball,” Herrion said. “We didn’t play through contact at all. Obviously 20 turnovers on the road against anybody is going to lead to bad things.”

Marshall led for most of the first half and built a 17-7 lead after a dunk by Tinnon with 13:04 remaining in the first half.  The Herd had its best shooting half of the season making 58.3 percent of its shots from the field, but finished the game shooting 46.4 percent. Marshall led 34-32 at halftime.

ECU did not take a second half lead until 12:36 remained in regulation. Five of the nine lead changes came over the next five minutes and the Pirates led by five points with 5:08 on the clock.

The Herd trailed 63-61 with just over a minute to play when Kane stole a pass from Corvonn Gaines and dished to Shaquille Johnson for the fast break layup. With the game tied 63-63, both teams held defensively and the game headed to overtime.

In the extra period, ECU led 67-65 with the ball and 36.5 seconds remaining, the Pirates’ Darrius Morrow missed two free throws to give the ball back to the Herd. Dago Pena attempted an open three-pointer next to the baseline that missed and with 14.5 seconds to play, Marshall was forced to foul Miguel Paul who made both free throws.
“It was a great look,” Herrion said of Pena’s potential game-winner. “He’s a great shooter, good execution but it just didn’t go down. Give our kids credit for executing. We got the shot we wanted. It was wide open and didn’t make it.”

Down four with 13.3 remaining, Johnson gave Marshall a glimmer of hope as he hit a deep three-pointer to bring the Herd to within three points, 69-68 with 1.9 to play. Marshall then fouled with .4 seconds on the clock. After Paul missed both free throws, Pena got the rebound and was unable to get a full court shot attempt off in time.
ECU won the game with no shot attempts in overtime and hit just 6-of-13 free throws in the extra period. For the contest, the Pirates were 16-of-26 (61.5 percent) from the free throw line while the Herd was 10-of -17 (58.8 percent).

Morrow led ECU with 27 points and eight rebounds. The only senior on the Pirates’ senior day made 11-of-17 free throw attempts and played 41 minutes. ECU shot 46.2 percent from the floor.

Marshall wraps up the regular season at home with senior day against Southern Miss Saturday at 2 p.m.

NOTES: You Mbao made his first field goal of the season and finished with a career-high four points on 2-of-3 shooting… Robert Goff added two blocked shots to his team-leading 29… Marshall’s 20 turnovers was its second-highest total of the season.

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