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Tigers maul Herd 71-59

Sports Editor

Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013

Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 23:02

021813memphis

Marcus Constantino | The Parthenon

Marshall’s Tamron Manning drives to the basket as Memphis’s Geron Johnson defends during the second half of the Conference USA men’s basketball game between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Memphis Tigers at the Cam Henderson Center Saturday.

The Thundering Herd was unable to continue its success at home Saturday night, falling to the Memphis Tigers 71-59 in the Cam Henderson Center.

A poor first half doomed the Herd. “Clearly a game of two halves for us,” Marshall Head Coach Tom Herrion said. “The second half a game of haves and the first half a game of have not’s in terms of our defense.”

The Herd got off to a quick start, nailing three of its first four three-point shots. Unfortunately, the Herd cooled off and finished the first half, shooting only 33.3 percent.

 The Tigers suffered no such shooting slump, knocking down 51 percent of their first half shots.

“We weren’t getting back quick enough and they were getting open layups,” Marshall senior forward Dennis Tinnon said.

The Herd would enter halftime trailing the Tigers 43-26.

“We knew we had to come out with better energy than we did in the first half and not give up so many open layups,” Tinnon said.

The Herd came into the second half looking like a different team, scoring the first six points of the half and trimming the deficit to nine, 43-34.

“Playing so far down against a good team like that — a top 25 team in the country — you’ve got to play perfect,” Herrion said. “Which we were for a while.”

The Herd’s defense came alive in the second half, containing the Tigers to 38 percent shooting. Herrion said the correlation between scoring and good defense was direct.

“When you put the ball in the basket, you become a better defensive team,” Herrion said.

The Herd would get within five points of the Tigers mid-way through the second half, but that was as close as the Herd would get.

“Too big a deficit to make up against a great team and we hurt ourselves with some breakdowns,” Herrion said.

The loss dropped the Herd to 11-15 overall and 4-7 in Conference USA play.

“We executed our offense a little better than we usually do, so we can take a little bit out of this,” junior guard DeAndre Kane said. “But we turned the ball over 20 times and got out rebounded again.”

The Tigers extended their winning streak to 16 and their overall record to 22-3, including a perfect 11-0 in C-USA play. The Tigers are one of only six teams that are undefeated in their leagues.

The Herd had no answers for Memphis sophomore forward Adonis Thomas, who had a career night against the Herd, scoring 23 points and collecting 10 rebounds.

“He was getting open in the corner and knocking down threes, which was expected,” Tinnon said. “He did a good job of penetrating and hitting mid-range shots and getting his own rebounds.”

Herrion said Thomas always shows up against Marshall.

“He’s hurt us both games — been a streaky perimeter shooter — but against Marshall, the K-Mart blue light goes off and he knocks down shots,” Herrion said of the 6’7” 240 lbs. Thomas. “We didn’t do a good enough job on him, but he’s a terrific player.”

Kane and junior forward Elijah Pittman led the Herd in scoring with 16 a piece, and Dennis Tinnon rounded out the double-digit scorers with 15 points and added 13 rebounds. During the game, Kane passed Marshall legend Hal Greer on the Herd’s all-time scoring list. He is now No. 19 with 1,390 points.

The Tigers have won 12 of 13 meetings with the Herd since Marshall joined C-USA in 2005. “If we get a chance to see them in Tulsa at the C-USA Tournament, we will get them there,” Tinnon said. “We’re tired of losing to the same team constantly so were going to get them next time we meet.”

The Herd will have to work hard to get that opportunity. Only five games remain in the regular season before the C-USA Tournament in Tulsa. Marshall is currently 10th in the 12-team league.

The next game for the Herd will come this Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. against the UCF Knights, who will be looking to exact revenge for a 75-71 loss they took in the Cam Henderson Center, Feb. 2.

Will Vance can be contacted at vance162@marshall.edu.
 

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