Marshall picked up its first road victory of the season and completed the regular season sweep of UCF in an 82-70 victory.
The Herd (12-15, 5-7 Conference USA) used a season high 54 percent field goal percentage to beat the Knights (17-9, 7-5) in a game it only trailed in once, by just two less than five minutes into the game.
“I’m really proud of our kids. They’ve been tremendous through our inconsistent struggles at times this year. They deserved that win,” said Marshall coach Tom Herrion.
Marshall took a 13 point lead into the half, and the Herd did not let up in the second half stretching its lead to as many as 22 points halfway through the period. The Knights rallied late and cut Marshall’s lead to as few as 10, but that was as close as the game would get.
With the victory, Marshall becomes the first team to defeat the Knights inside UCF Arena in C-USA play this season.
“We didn’t have the energy we needed,” said UCF coach Donnie Jones. “Our guys needed to give a better effort out there. Give credit to Marshall, they played hard and got all the loose balls.”
Marshall started the game with hot shooting, and scored a season-high 48 first half points on 60 percent shooting, also season high.
D.D. Scarver scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half, as Marshall would open up its lead to as many as 16 in the opening frame
“Offensively the ball moved so well and obviously we made some shots early,” Herrion said. “We got anything we wanted really. Our execution was tremendous.”
Following nearly every loss this season Herrion has said the reason for the losses has been his team’s lack of defense and rebounding, but against UCF, Marshall both defended and rebounded well.
The Herd allowed UCF to shoot just 43 percent from the field, including just 18 percent (3-16) from beyond the three point line. Marshall also out rebounded the Knights 42-32.
“We guarded the three really well and rebounding, minus our really bad free throw block-outs in the second half, I thought we did a really good job on the glass,” Herrion said.
Elijah Pittman led four Marshall players in double-figures with 20 points on 7-11 shooting. Dennis Tinnon was one of those, as the senior came off the bench and recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
The Knights were led by Isaiah Sykes, who scored a game high 23 points and recorded a double-double as he also pulled down 11 rebounds.
With only four regular season games remaining, the Herd will return home Saturday night to take on UAB, who defeated Marshall 75-61 earlier this season in Birmingham.
– Jarrod Clay