Marshall put forth one of its best defensive performance of the season in a 64-48 win over Savannah State and remains unbeaten inside the walls of the Cam Henderson Center.
“That was as consistent of 40 minutes of defensive that we have played all season,” Marshall Head Coach Tom Herrion said.
Marshall opened up the game sloppy against the Tigers, committing four turnovers and falling behind 14-6 at the 12:39 mark. A Chris Martin 3-point shot jump-started the Herd offense and over the next six minutes, Marshall would build a 25-18 lead.
“I thought our bench gave us great lift early in the game,” Herrion said. “We got caught on heels and played from behind.”
The Tigers would respond to the 19-6 run and close the half on a 7-2 run and bring the game to 27-25 in favor of the Herd.
At intermission Marshall was shooting 11-29 from the field, while Dennis Tinnon was a perfect 5-5.
“The last couple of games I haven’t showed up at all,” Tinnon said. “I was pretty down on myself with not being able to step up and do what I have to do to help us win. Tonight I was focused … getting the ball going straight up strong and not going up so soft.”
The second half began with two teams exchanging baskets for the first six minutes. Over the next 12 minutes the Herd held the Tigers to just five points, while Marshall would score 17 and cruise the rest of the game.
Marshall committed 19 turnovers, one shy of its season high, but was able to walk away with 16-point victory.
“We had a few turnovers, but we adjusted to it and got the win,” Martin said.
Coach Herrion echoed Martin’s thoughts.
“To many turnovers, 19 is a bad number,” Herrion said.
Marshall continued its December offensive slump with 64 points against Savannah State and is only averaging 61.8 points per game in five games this month. However, the team does hold a 3-2 record in the five game span.
D.D. Scarver paced the Herd offensively with 18 points and Martin chipped in defensively with four steals.
Marshall, for the first time since Dec. 29, 1991 against Penn State, held an opponent without a three-point field goal, as the Tigers went 0-7 from beyond the arc. Martin was asked when the last time his team has held an opponent without a three.
“Probably in High School,” Martin said. “It is a credit to our defense and preparing for the game.”
The Herd’s head coach wore a green jacket the entire game to honor the lives that were lost in the horrific shooting in Newton, Conn. Herrion said in his young coaching days he traveled through Newtown hundreds of times when he was recruiting.
“It’s my way of paying tribute to Newtown, Conn.,” Herrion said. “Green is their color at the school. It is just a small way for me to pay homage to the senseless, ridiculous, despicable, slaughtering of all the people last Friday.”
Up next for the Herd is a trip to Lexington, Ky., to face off against the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
– Jeremy Johnson