"Getting 30 points off turnovers, that doesn't help you win a game," was Marshall associate coach Jeff Burkhamer's assessment after the game.
Daniels' hot night was only made hotter via Marshall turnovers. The Herd committed 26 turnovers against the Tigers, and the resulting 30 points were too much for the Herd to overcome.
In the first half, Marshall fell behind by as many as 9 points, 29-20, after the Tigers' Daniels threw down a dunk but received a technical foul for hanging on the rim afterward. J.R. VanHoose hit the two resulting free throws, spurring the Herd on to a 10-3 run to finish out the half tied with Auburn at 32-32.
Marshall was forced to play without Temple transfer Ron Blackshear. Blackshear, eligible after the end of the first semester, had one grade not posted in time for Marshall's departure to Mobile, and was forced to not make the trip or play in the game. The much-anticipated debut of Blackshear will now have to wait until the Herd travels to Western Michigan next Saturday. Marshall guard Monty Wright also sat out the game, presumably due to NCAA-mandated suspensions announced at the beginning of the season.
With few players to come off the bench, Marshall coach Greg White's squad tired quickly in the second half. Plus, Auburn's Daniels went ballistic early on in the second half, effectively ending the game on his own by hitting three-pointers. Auburn's Derrick Bird drained a three-pointer with 13:33 left in the game, extending Auburn's lead to 51-39 with 13:49 left.
The Tigers proceeded on a blistering 28-7 run the first ten minutes of the second half, capitalizing on Marshall turnovers (26 total in the game). Auburn converted those 26 MU turnovers into 30 points. Auburn's Daniels finished his scoring demonstration (Daniels was a perfect 11-of-11 shooting, 7-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-4 free throws) with three-pointer that put Auburn out by 21 points, at 66-45, with less than 8 minutes remaining. Daniels was responsible for five of the Marshall turnovers, all of them steals.
"I don't think it was so much their pressure as it was our inadequacy handling the ball," Burkhamer summed up.
Marshall's Tamar Slay added five quick points late in the game, but it was too little, too late. Slay would finish with a below-par 10 points. Marshall shot just 39% from the floor (21-of-54). Leading scorer for the Thundering Herd was J.R. VanHoose, with 16 points, 13 rebounds, his 44th double-double of his career. Latece Williams added 11 points and 5 blocked shots; guard Enoch Bunch did his best in relief of Wright, scoring 14 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting.
Marshall falls to 5-4 overall with the loss, ending a five-game win streak. The Herd is now idle until December 22, when they travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to take on MAC West foe Western Michigan at 2pm. Auburn improved to 5-3 overall with the win.