Herd Falls in Championship Game 83-57

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Herd Falls in Championship Game 83-57

MEMPHIS, Tenn.  – Playing in its first ever C-USA Championship game, the Marshall men’s basketball team fell to top-seeded Memphis 83-57 Saturday afternoon at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn.

The Thundering Herd (21-13) allowed the Tigers (26-8) to shoot 59.1 percent from the field, the second-highest mark by a Marshall opponent this season. Memphis was also on target from the free throw line making 25-of-27 for 92.6 percent.

“We ran into a team that is playing as well as any team in America,” said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. “That team might be the most improved team in the country in the last three or four weeks. We played up hill and had to play from behind. We battled and I’m proud of my kids, but when you play from behind with that kind of margin on the road on their home floor, you exert so much energy.”

Marshall was led by sophomore guard DeAndre Kane who finished with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and zero turnovers. Kane and Dennis Tinnon were named to the C-USA All-Tournament Team, the first time any player from Marshall had received that honor.

Tinnon finished the game with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting and four rebounds. Junior forward Robert Goff led the rebounding effort with nine boards to go with eight points.

Senior guards Damier Pitts and Shaquille Johnson scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Marshall’s only lead came after Kane hit a mid-range jump shot on the game’s first possession. The Herd trailed by just one point, 18-17, after a made basket by Tinnon with 11:00 remaining in the half. The Herd then went just over eight minutes without a field goal as the Tigers increased their lead to 37-23. Memphis went into halftime leading 45-27.

Marshall made a run early in the second half and trailed 57-44 with 9:15 remaining after a steal by Shaquille Johnson and layup by Kane.  The Tigers then scored the next eight points to bolster its lead to 65-44. After two free throws by Joe Jackson, Memphis held its largest lead of the game, 83-55 with 1:20 left to play.

Marshall shot 35.5 percent from the field and made just 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) from the free throw line.

Joe Jackson’s 19 points led Memphis which had five players score in double-figures. Conference Player of the Year Will Barton finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
“Our kids did something that has not been done at Marshall and that’s get to a championship game and I’m proud,” Herrion said. “We didn’t close the deal, I’m disappointed with the loss, but I’m proud of this group for what they’ve done this week in particular and now we’ll look forward to playing again.”

Marshall will find out Sunday which postseason tournament it will participate in.

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