On Saturday evening, the Marshall University men’s basketball team will wrap up the regular season, playing host to UCF at 7 p.m. at the Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall’s season-high five-game win streak was snapped on Wednesday as UTEP grabbed an 82-74 win over the Thundering Herd. Randy Culpepper recorded a game-high 24 points while connecting on 10 out of 17 shots. Four other players finished in double figures for the Miners, who shot 59.6% in the win.
UTEP shot 59.6% against Marshall, including a 16-21 (76.2%) showing in the second half. It marked just the fifth time a team has shot 50% or better against the Herd this season and was the highest opponent shooting percentage since Tulane shot 60.4% against MU on February 7, 2009. Ironically, that is a game MU won in overtime, 89-86.
Senior Tirrell Baines has the chance to make more history and even more of an impact on the MU record book. With just 14 more points, Baines will become just the 12th player in program history to record 1,200 points and 600 rebounds for their career. The last to join that list was Markel Humphrey.
The Knights enter this weekends contest with a 19-9 record and a 6-9 mark in league play. They are winners of three-straight and five of their last six contests, all league games. The lone loss over that span came at UAB, a 63-58 defeat. UCF is coming off of a 51-48 home win over SMU on Wednesday. They are led by former Marshall head coach Donnie Jones, who posted a 55-41 mark in three seasons with the Herd.
Marcus Jordan, son of NBA legend Michael Jordan, leads the Knights with 15.5 PPG. He is also their assist leader with 94. Keith Clanton is the other UCF double-digit scorer, putting up 13.8 points.
In their first meeting this season in Orlando, UCF found itself on the winning end of a 65-58 decision. Marcus Jordan led all players with 26 points on a 9-17 shooting performance. Shaquille Johnson led MU with 15 points. The game featured eight lead changes and ten ties before UCF was able to pull away in the end.
Saturday’s home game against UCF marks senior night for the Thundering Herd. Seniors Tirrell Baines and Orlando Allen will be honored prior to the game. Below is a quick synopsis of their careers:
Orlando Allen joined the Thundering Herd this season after graduating from the University of Oklahoma and has become a key contributor to Marshall’s success. Orlando has seen action in 29 games this season and posted a season-high six points in the win over VMI and a season-high six rebounds in the win over Binghamton. He ranks second on the team in blocks with 24 and has pulled down 71 rebounds this season.
Tirrell Baines currently ranks 29th all-time in career scoring at Marshall with 1,186 points. The four-year letter-winner also ranks 18th all-time at Marshall with 635 career rebounds. During his senior campaign he has averaged 12.8 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game while starting in all 30 contests…He recorded a career-high 26 points in the win over Tulsa and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds in the win at Savannah State…Baines has collected 10 double-doubles in his career and has helped the Thundering Herd to two-consecutive 20-win seasons.
Saturday’s tip is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are still available. The Marshall ticket office will open at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Fans who purchased tickets over the phone or online are encouraged to arrive early in order to avoid long lines.