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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall shot a season-high 51.9 percent and blocked 14 shots as the Thundering Herd snapped a three-game losing skid to defeat UCF 75-71 Saturday at the Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall (10-12, 3-4 Conference USA) cooled off a hot UCF (15-6, 5-2 C-USA) club which had won nine of its last 11 games.
"I'm proud of my group," said head coach Tom Herrion. "They did a great job of finding a way to win the game this afternoon. "
The 14 blocked shots are tied for second-most in school history. Senior and Florida native Nigel Spikes had nine blocks, which rank tied for fourth in Marshall's single-game records. Other Herd block artists in the game were Yous Mbao, who made the most of his four minutes of play, with three and Elijah Pittman and Dennis Tinnon with one each.
Spikes did some work on the offensive end of the floor as well with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field. He was also 5-of-6 from the free throw line where Marshall was 16-of-25 (64.0 percent).
Pittman led the Herd in scoring with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field including 3-of-6 from three-point range. Fellow junior college transfer D.D. Scarver put up 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field.
UCF made two of its first 17 field goal attempts as Marshall built a five-point lead, 22-17 with 8:29 to play in the half. A 10-2 run by the Knights gave UCF a 27-24 lead with 5:56 remaining in the first. Marshall held UCF to 36.1 shooting from the field in the first half and trailed 33-32 at the break.
In a game that saw 16 lead changes, 11 came in the second half which was a back-and-forth affair.
A free throw from UCF's Keith Clanton tied the game at 60-60 with four minutes to play, but Marshall went on a 14-6 scoring run over the next 3:43 to take a 74-66 lead with 17 seconds left which all but sealed the deal.
Along with its season-high shooting percentage, Marshall was 5-of-18 from three-point range while holding UCF to 41.3 percent from the field and 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from beyond the arc.
"Shooting 52 percent for us was really good," Herrion said. "I think it was 17 assists on 27 made baskets, so our ball movement was good. We made some big plays down the stretch which you have to do against a good team in a great game, and that's obviously a rivalry-type of game with a really nice atmosphere. A good bounce back for our kids, and I'm proud of them."
Twelve of Marshall's 17 assists came from junior guard DeAndre Kane who also put up six points and four rebounds.
UCF was led by C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Keith Clanton who scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds, both game-highs. Calvin Newell scored 19 points.
Marshall will next be in action on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. game at Tulane.
MARSHALL POSTGAME NOTES
Marshall (10-12, 3-4 C-USA) 75 - UCF (15-6, 5-2 C-USA) 71
Cam Henderson Center - 5,856
Marshall Starters (Career/Season): Dennis Tinnon (55/20), Nigel Spikes (54/21), D.D. Scarver (22/22), Elijah Pittman (19/19), DeAndre Kane (83/16)
Series History: Marshall leads 4-3 and 3-2 in Huntington
Moves the Thundering Herd to 9-2 inside the Cam Henderson Center this season.
Makes head coach Tom Herrion 133-76 all-time and 53-38 during his three seasons at MU.
Takes Marshall's all-time record to 1,393-1,017-2.
Moves Marshall's all-time Cam Henderson Center record to 347-108 and 39-20 in C-USA games.
Improves the Herd to 15-5 in conference home games under coach Herrion.
Marshall blocked 14 UCF shots, a new season high (Hofsta, nine). It also ranks tied for second in Marshall's team records (also against UCF on Feb. 27, 2010).
MU improved to 3-11 this season when trailing at the half.
Marshall was outrebounded 41-29 but improved to 2-8 when it's outrebounded. In Herrion's three years, Marshall is 6-21 when outrebounded.
Spikes' nine blocks are a career high and rank tied for fourth in Marshall's single-game records. Hassan Whiteside vs. Ohio (11/28/09), Latece Williams vs. Charleston (11/17/00) and Omar Roland vs. UT-Chattanooga (1/13/90) all had nine blocks in a game.
Spikes' nine blocks were the most since Hassan Whiteside's school-record 13 vs. UCF on Feb. 27, 2010.
Spikes reached 100 career blocks and climbed to No. 9 on Marshall's all-time career list, passing Latece Williams (2000-02) who had 99.
D.D. Scarver has made a three point basket in all 22 games of his MU career.
Scarver ended the game with 16 points, the 19th time out of his 22 career games he has scored 10 or more in the green and white.
Additionally, Scarver had one three-pointer, giving him 51 this season and moving him into a three-way tie for 21st on Marshall's single-season list.
Elijah Pittman scored 20 points, giving him double-digit points in 17 of his 22 career games in a Herd uniform. It was also the fifth time he reached 20 points in a game this season.
DeAndre Kane was an assist shy (12) of his career and season best (13). It was the fourth time Kane has recorded at least 10 assists in a game this season.
It was only the fifth time this season Kane did not score 10 or more points (six).
Head Coach Tom Herrion
"That's a really good win against a really good team. I thought defensively we were really, really good, our first shot defense was outstanding. Early in the game, we gave up too many second chance opportunities. Nine of them were dead ball rebounds. When you guys look at the stat sheet, minus 12 is a bad, bad, bad number on the glass. Bad. Nine of them are dead ball which means we either tip, we don't come up with it, we block it out of bounds, and they retain possession so it's a little deceiving in that regard although we didn't get it done. "
"I'm proud of my group. They did a great job of finding a way to win the game this afternoon. Finding a way, we just kind of grinded it out. We were really efficient, I thought, on offense for the most part. Shooting 52 percent for us was really good. I think it was 17 assists on 27 made baskets, so our ball movement was good. We made some big plays down the stretch which you have to do against a good team in a great game, and that's obviously a rivalry-type of game with a really nice atmosphere. A good bounce back for our kids, and I'm proud of them. "
On the rivalry aspect:
"It just feels good to get a win, period. That it's UCF. From a program stand-point, from program to program, we're too far along with the change in coaches and all that. We have great respect for Donnie and his kids and how hard they play and what they do. And yeah, there are sidebars, but that was tough before I got here. Let's get that straight. There are things that have been added to it. It's a very good program, they've got a nice team with terrific players. "
"I said it this week, you have to pick your poison with them. I know [Keith] Clanton, yeah he had a big day, but our job on those complimentary guys I thought was outstanding. I thought we made [Isaiah] Sykes really work. I thought we did a great job on those guys: [Tristan] Spurlock and Sykes. Clanton is just so hard for us to guard, especially with a true five-man, and we got great production out of the five today. It might have been the best production we've ever gotten since I've been here. Collectively. I know everyone wants to talk about Nigel - and deservingly so - but [Robert] Goff was phenomenal in the first half. And Yous [Mbao] was really good in the stretch he came in. So those three guys collectively gave us a big day in the pivot. "
"I thought [DeVince] Boykins was outstanding in the second half. He allowed us to get a little bit smaller, more aggressive defender on Sykes. We got production from a lot of different guys that made plays. And not necessarily the ones that show up in the box score. "
On UCF's defense:
"They are good defensively, they change defenses. They played man and some zone, and then they started trapping Kane a little bit off high ball screens late in the game as well. They're good. They've got great length. They've got great size. They make the first sub and take [Daiquan] Walker out of the game, that put Sykes at the two, Spurlock at the three, and they get really big and really long. I think that's effective for them defensively. But I thought we had good patience. We shot 52 percent as I said earlier. That's really good efficiency. We didn't shoot too many threes. Ball movement was good. We played inside out, and I thought we took care of the ball for the most part. Thirteen is a manageable number for us."
UCF Head Coach Don Jones
On ending their hot streak:
"Marshall is good. There's a reason they were picked second in the league. Tom [Herrion] did a good job tonight with this team. Those guys are really talented. I'm happy for Nigel Spikes. I'm not happy for us, but that's what I thought Nigel could become here. But I thought our guys competed. We had 21 offensive rebounds, and we outrebounded by 13. We talked about the rebound game, and I thought if we could contain [DeAndre] Kane that we'd have a shot to beat them. And we did. We were where we wanted to be, but give Marshall credit. They found a way to win."
On Keith Clanton:
"Keith is a winner. He's one of the best 'big guys' in this league. Tonight he played against some of the best 'big guys' in the league right here at Marshall. I was happy for him. We had a lot of opportunities at the rim we didn't finish. They had a lot of blocks tonight. We had our opportunity and you have to be able to make those possessions count. Time and score are important. I thought we took some tough shots and didn't get stops."
On Marshall's effectiveness in blocking shots:
"I knew they were talented. Tonight they really played well. I thought our guys had some good looks in there. We tried to dunk a few balls that we missed. We talked about attacking. We wanted to try to get to the free-throw line 30 times if we could, but we weren't able to get there. I think we got there 20 times tonight."
On outscoring opponents vs. stopping them:
"Defensive stops are what you have to make, especially on the road. You've got to put yourself into position to get stops. I think that we were blitzing Kane trying to take him out of the offense and letting others make plays. We didn't do a good job at making that second and third rotation out of some of those double teams. You gamble and try to make other people do different things and Nigel Spikes was the guy they went to. He made a couple big plays around the rim. They did the things they needed to win the game. Sometimes you play the percentages and you don't win the game."
On his history with Marshall:
"I've got great respect for this place. It's one of the best places in all college basketball. There's a lot of tradition here. This has been a great venue and it's become a good rivalry. We will always miss being here."
On shooting percentages:
"Tonight we shot about 40%. The second half, they really shot well. They made plays. We went zone a few times and they executed against zone. I worried about them getting much better because they played against zone. We thought that would be effective, but they were able to score. They put more of a focus on getting the ball inside. Tonight they were able to do that and you have to get stops. Tonight's shots didn't go down for us. Hopefully they will next time."
On shooting better the first half:
"Give Marshall credit. They were blocking shots and had some length in there. We had some good looks that just didn't go down. Our guys were very unselfish. We had nine assists in the first half. That's always what I'm looking at; to see how we are sharing the ball. We tried to take it to the rack too many times sometimes instead of making the extra pass."