The 0-5 start in the Mid-American Conference ties the 1962-63 Marshall team, coached by MU legend Jule Rivlin, which went 0-7 to start MAC play on its way to an 1-11 league season (the first of three straight 1-11 marks for MU in the MAC). Marshall gets another chance on Wednesday to pick up its first win of the year in the league against Akron (8-6/2-4). The Zips have won two straight at home, including Saturday's 76-68 win over Eastern Michigan.
Toledo picked up its first win in Huntington since 1970. UT coach Stan Joplin also finally won in his fourth try at the Cam Henderson Center, where he had been 0-3 since 1997-98, the Herd's first year back in the MAC. Marshall was the only MAC venue Joplin had not recorded a win in until Saturday, but his team shot 68 percent in the first half (15-of-22), which would push the Rockets out to as much as an 18-point lead in the first half before Marshall cut into the UT lead to make it 41-28 at half.
Marshall, behind A.W. Hamilton's career-high 20 points and fellow senior Enoch Bunch coming off the bench to score 14 of his 16 points in the second half, chased the Rockets down throughout the second half. MU closed to two points, 69-67, with 4:17 to play in the contest on a eight-foot basket by Hamilton. Over the next three minutes and 19 seconds however, Rocket player Keonta Howell hit two threes and a lay-up to outscore Marshall 8-to-3 and give Toledo a lead of 77-70 with just 58 seconds to play. Toledo would hit 6-of-8 free throws down the final minute to win the game.
The Rockets were led in scoring by MAC Player of the Year runner-up in 2003-04 Keith Triplett, who scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting and a perfect 8-of-8 at the line. Howell added five rebounds and 17 points, hitting 5-of-6 shooting (3-4 from three), and Florentino Valencia added 15 points and five rebounds. Toledo out-rebounded the Herd 28-25, without 6-10 center Allen Pinson (who missed his second game with a concussion), as guard Justin Ingram grabbed seven boards for UT. Marshall's defensive struggles with MAC teams continued as Toledo shot 56 percent from the floor (28-50) and 46.2 percent from three (6-13).
Both teams, and the crowd of 4,397 (best of the season at the Henderson Center), endured a game where 43 fouls were called by the officials (25 in the second half) and 60 free throws were attempted. Both teams shot well from the stripe, with MU hitting 24-of-31 (77.4 percent) and UT shooting 21-of-29 (72.4 percent). Marshall also got 13 points (4-4 shooting, 1-1 from three) from Mark Patton, who had five rebounds. David Anderson also had five boards and eight points. Joe Miles, who scored in double-digets his first 12 games to set a MU record, had his second consecutive game with single-diget scoring, adding seven points. Miles had five turnovers to run his team-leading total to 44 on the season, nine more than anyone else on the Herd squad.
Toledo, now 3-2 in the MAC and 7-7 overall, will be off until next Saturday when they travel the short 10 miles down I-75 to rival Bowling Green for the MAC TV Game of the Week. Marshall will host Akron at 7:00 p.m. in the Henderson Center, then start a tough stretch next Saturday when they play four of five games away from home: at Kent State January 22; at Buffalo 1/27; home for the Golden Flashes of KSU on February 1; then road games at Northern Illinois on 2/3 and at Ball State on 2/6, a 2:00 p.m. game scheduled by the MAC on Super Bowl Sunday.