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EL PASO, Texas - Senior forward Dennis Tinnon scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, but it was not enough as the Marshall men's basketball team fell 74-63 to El Paso Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center.
The Thundering Herd (8-9, 1-1 Conference USA) made four of its first five field goals and jetted out to a 12-5 lead capped by an Elijah Pittman three-pointer at the 15:45 mark. Despite scoring 12 in the first 4:15 of the game, the Herd scored just 12 more points the remainder of the half, going 6-for-19 from the field over that span, and trailed 31-24 at the break.
"They gained some momentum during the last couple of minutes of the first half," said head coach Tom Herrion. "In the second half we didn't play well, didn't play strong in certain situations."
The Miners (8-6, 2-0 C-USA) continued to control the game in the second half and led by as many as 20, 56-36 with 8:51 remaining. That's when the Herd started to mount a comeback as it scored the next seven points of the game and trailed 58-43 with 6:37 to play.
The Miners' lead shriveled to nine, 64-55 at the 1:44 mark, after Jamir Hanner grabbed an offensive rebound and scored two of his eight points. Marshall fouled with the hopes of getting the ball back after misses, but the Miners failed to do so, going 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the final 1:20 of the game.
"UTEP is a good club and this is a tough place to play, but no excuses. We battled back, but dug too big of a hole to start the second half and you can't play uphill against a good team like UTEP."
Tinnon was 6-of-7 from the field including 2-of-2 from three-point range. He led three other Marshall players in double figures as Pittman and DeAndre Kane finished with 11 and D.D. Scarver scored 10.
The Herd, which entered the game averaging a conference-best 41.7 rebounds per game, was held to just 23 boards while UTEP had 32.
"To get outrebounded by nine, it jumps out at me," Herrion said. "It's a glaring statistic."
Turnovers, which had plagued the Herd in many games this season, did not on Saturday. Marshall had just 12 turnovers, its fewest amount in 11 games.
Marshall shot 44.7 percent from the field while UTEP shot 47.9 percent including 50 percent in the second half.
Konner Tucker led UTEP with 18 points including a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
The Herd will have a week between games as its next game is on Saturday against East Carolina. The game at the Cam Henderson Center begins at 7 p.m.