"They [Marshall] made a great run to start the second half," said ETSU coach Murry Bartow. "We fought hard, but just ran out of time at the end."
Both teams overcame a poor-shooting first half that saw The Herd only shoot 27.6% (8-of-29), while the Buccaneers managed a slightly better 34.5% (10-of-29). Joe Miles was the only player on the floor in double figures (11 points) and the Buccaneers' Tim Smith -who appeared in a recent Sports Illustrated article as the Fastest Man In College Basketball- only managed 6 points in the half.
Mark Patton pulled down one of his 9 rebounds against ETSU on Tuesday night.
"We played great defense, but couldn't finish the transition [game]," said ETSU guard Tim Smith.
Marshall had a slim 31-28 lead at the half.
The second half began with a bang for The Herd. David Anderson's fast-break dunk with 10:11 remaining ended a MU 14-5 run that extended the Marshall lead out to its highest point -19 points- at 59-40.
Then, ETSU's Smith went to work. Smith played most of the second half with four fouls, yet managed to score 29 points to pull the Buccaneers to within seven points, 64-57, with 5:48 left.
"Coach [Jirsa] said they'd make a run," said MU guard Enoch Bunch, "and they did."
"He's as good as advertised," Bunch added of ETSU's Tim Smith.
The Herd also overcame a critical technical foul against freshman Joe Miles with 1:05 remaining. Miles called a timeout, but MU was out of them. Smith hit the ensuing free throws to get ETSU the closest they would come at 74-71. Miles made up for the miscue with :29 left by stealing the ball from ETSU's Smith.
Marshall made 4-of-5 free throws from that point on to hold off ETSU and secure the win.
ETSU guard Tim Smith recovered a tipped pass in front of MU guard Ryan Lamb. Smith hit a career-high 35 points against Marshall in The Herd's 80-76 win on Tuesday night in Huntington.
"We had them where we wanted them, and held on," summed up MU guard A.W. Hamilton.
All five MU starters finished in double figures, with A.W. Hamilton (16 points, 7 assists) leading the way. Enoch Bunch finished with 13 points, while both Miles and David Anderson each scored 12. Mark Patton hit 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, despite late foul trouble.
"Our ability to shift gears from the first game to the second game is hopefully a good sign," said MU coach Ron Jirsa.
Both MU and ETSU left the game with 1-1 overall records. Next up for The Herd is Oregon at the Charleston (WV) Civic Center on Saturday, November 27 at 7pm.