Marshall claws its way back against Eagles, 69-63
Published: Sunday, December 9, 2012
Updated: Sunday, December 9, 2012 22:12
During the opening 2:30 of action Saturday night inside the Cam Henderson Center, Marshall University (6-4) fans witnessed two dunks and a layup. They also saw Marshall Head Coach Tom Herrion burn two timeouts in the span as his team fell behind 6-0 against Coppin State (1-8). The Herd would battle back for a 69-63 win after a lethargic first-half performance. However, it was the Herd knocking down six consecutive free-throws to close out the contest that permitted Marshall to hold on for the victory.
The Eagles’ zone defense plagued the Herd most of the night, leading to a 12-point lead in the first half before the Herd cut the deficit to eight before the half. Coppin State would extend its lead to 11 early in the second half before Marshall found its rhythm to storm back.
Marshall trailed Coppin State most of the contest, taking its first lead 49-48 with 9:51 remaining in the contest on a three-pointer by Elijah Pittman. The Eagles answered the call with a 7-0 run and a 55-49 lead. D.D. Scarver, who led all players with 20 points, sparked the Herd’s comeback with back-to-back three-pointers and a 20-8 run to close out the contest.
“Another hard fought win,” Herrion said. “Give Coppin State a lot of credit. They played exactly how I thought they’d play. They just kept playing and had a lot of confidence early.”
Marshall shot 58 percent from the field on the evening, but the hot hand of Scarver helped the Herd battle back. Scarver hit 4-of-9 three-pointers on the night while grabbing a career-high five rebounds. The Herd struggled from behind the arch in the first half knocking down 2-of-16 (12.5 percent), but found its mark in the second half connecting with 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) three-pointers.
While struggling from behind the arch, Marshall also struggled finishing around the basket. Marshall went 12-of-38 (31.6 percent) in the first half. “We had 26 baskets with 21 assists,” Herrion said. “We are being unselfish. We are moving the ball. We still cannot put the ball in the basket around the lane. It’s killing us early in the game.”
Senior Dennis Tinnon recorded his 15th career double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Junior DeAndre Kane paced the Herd with nine points and 11 assists.
Marshall won the war on the glass 47-29, largely in part to the efforts of Tinnon and Senior Nigel Spikes. Spikes added 11 rebounds as the tandem lacked four rebounds to amass the entire Eagles team.
While Marshall used a total team effort to defeat Coppin State, two things were uncharacteristic for Marshall. The Herd switched from its normal man-to-man defense into a full-court zone press, and then dropped into a 1-3-1 half-court zone that left the Eagles searching for answers. Marshall converted 13 Coppin State turnovers into 16 points.
Marshall’s efficiency at the foul-line late in the game speaks for itself. After only two free-throw attempts in the first-half, Marshall shot 10-of-15 in the second half including a perfect 6-of-6 to close out the contest.
Marshall benefited from the bench play it received in the matchup. Redshirt freshman DeVince Boykins came off the bench and played a career-high 11 minutes. Boykins connected with his first career points at the 13:25 mark of the second half, knocking down a three-pointer to help lead the comeback.
“Our bench gave us some good minutes tonight,” Herrion said. “Tamron Manning and Boykins in particular gave us really good minutes tonight and in that second half especially.”
Marshall’s next game will be Saturday against Cincinnati at 2 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center.
James Collier can be contacted at email@example.com.