Herd avenges disaster in Hattiesburg
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 00:03
In a close contest on Senior Night, the Herd topped the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Cam Henderson Center, 88-84.
“Our great and loyal fans who came tonight witnessed a terrific ball game,” Marshall University Head Coach Tom Herrion, said.
“They got the best of us on the road and there’s no better way than getting them back at home,” senior forward Nigel Spikes, said. “Especially on senior night.”
Senior forward Robert Goff got the Herd off to a good start, scoring eight of the Herd’s first ten points after averaging a little over four points per game this season.
“He gave us great energy and set the tone,” Herrion said. “We had a lot of contributions from a lot of guys.”
Southern Miss managed to take the lead mid-way through the first half with much of there production coming from senior guard Dwayne Davis, who scored a career high 35 points.
“Davis played at a phenomenal level. Thank God he’s only in the league for one year, he’s a one-year eligibility guy,” Herrion said. “So, thankfully we won’t have to see him again.”
The Herd received an unexpected spark from freshman guard Tamron Manning, who scored 12 points, tripling his career high.
“I just wanted to help the seniors and get this win on senior night,” Manning, who also had four assists, said.
“He really grew up tonight,” Herrion said. “It’s kind of been the evolution of his game this season. He’s really grown as a young freshman.”
The Herd’s trio of seniors, center Nigel Spikes and forwards Dennis Tinnon and Robert Goff, got into foul trouble early, but were still able to make significant contributions, especially in the first half.
“When our guards are scoring, they’re scoring and I can’t ask for anything better,” Spikes said. Spikes pulled down five rebounds and scored seven points, including a pair of late free throws that put the team ahead for good.
Last time the Herd played the Golden Eagles, the kelly green and white got routed to the tune of 102-46. Despite the past thrashing, players said they did not feel ill will towards the Golden Eagles.
“You don’t have to play angry if you’re well prepared,” Spikes said. “Coach did a really good job preparing us for tonight.”
Southern Miss played zone defense most of the contest, but the Herd made them pay with hot shooting. The Herd shot 55.1 percent from the field for the game, including 10 of 20 three-point shots.
The Herd is now 13-17 and 6-9 in conference play. Junior forward Elijah Pittman led the team in scoring with 22 points and pulled down three rebounds. Junior guard D.D. Scarver trailed him closely with 19 points while Tamron Manning rounded out the Herd’s double-digit scorers with 12. Junior guard DeAndre Kane tallied nine points to go along with his team-high seven assists.
Davis’s career high 35 points paced the Golden Eagles (22-8, 11-4). Senior forward Jonathan Mills and junior guard Jerrold Brooks were Southern Miss’s other double-digit scorers with 13 and 12, respectively.
The announced crowd of 5,364 was arguably one of the loudest at the Cam Henderson Center all season, and Coach Herrion said he took notice.
“Our fans are tremendous,” Herrion said. “We’ve struggled, we’ve been inconsistent, some people maybe chose not to come, but the ones who came tonight helped us a lot down the stretch. We really appreciate our great fan base.”
The Herd will wrap up the 2012-13 regular season on the road, facing the East Carolina Pirates in Greenville, N.C., Saturday.