Senior guard Damier Pitts scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to lead Marshall to a 69-64 win at UNC-Wilmington Tuesday.
The Thundering Herd improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1999 while the Seahawks fell to 0-3.
Pitt’s was 7-for-12 from the field while also producing five assists. He stepped up big late in the game scoring 12 of Marshall’s final 15 points to seal the team’s first win.
“He has the ability to make big shots,” said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. “You put the ball in a good player’s hands and let him make a play. I have great confidence in my kids and he’s one of them.”
The Seahawks gave the Herd all it could handle, especially in the first half. UNCW jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game.
“I knew what we were going to walk into,” Herrion said. “Not many teams play tough road games like at Dayton and at Maryland this early in the season. They (UNCW) played at such a high level tonight. It was a terrific win for us and a good learning experience. Winning here was a testament to our toughness.”
Trailing 12-3, Marshall used a 15-2 run over the next seven minutes of play to take its first lead of the game, 15-14. Kane led the team into halftime by scoring 13 of the next 17 Herd points and MU held a 36-25 lead at the break. Kane was to Marshall in the first half, what Pitts was to Marshall in the second half as the sophomore guard scored 14 of his 19 points in the first period of play.
Like UNCW started the game, Marshall jumped on the Seahawks to begin the second half. The Herd reached its largest lead of the game at 53-27 at the 18:52 mark. However, the 16-point lead dwindled down to four, 45-41, after a 14-2 run by the Seahawks.
Marshall built its lead up to 14 points, 59-45 at the 4:27 mark, but once again the Seahawks battled back and cut it to six points with 17 seconds to play. Marshall hit just enough free throws down the stretch, 5-for-8 in the final two minutes, to get the five-point win.
“If we are going to be a good team, which I think we can be, you find ways to win differently,” Herrion said. “Damier made some big plays down the stretch like a senior guard should and DeAndre had a good first half.”
Junior forwards Dennis Tinnon and Robert Goff each recorded seven points and four rebounds. Senior guard Shaquille Johnson led the team in rebounding with eight to go with five points.
Keith Rendleman led the Seahawks in scoring with 15 points.
Marshall shot 47.8-percent from the field and held UNCW to 45.1-percent.
The Herd will play its second-straight road game on Friday when it plays at Cincinnati at 7 p.m.