Herd "Turns Over" Victory To Tulsa, 66-57

The Marshall men's basketball team was riding a two-game road winning streak into Wednesday night's game at Tulsa, while the Golden Hurricane was 6-9 on the year and were averaging 21 turnovers per game. It was the Thundering Herd, however, who turned over the ball 21 times on the night to just 14 for TU and MU let what should have been a third-straight road win turn into a 66-57 loss. Marshall falls to 1-2 in Conference USA, 7-8 on the season, and returns home to face 10-5/3-0 UTEP Saturday.

Marshall had a chance to put Tulsa away early in the ball game when the Herd took a 19-9 lead with 5:34 to play in the first half. The Golden Hurricane went almost eight minutes without a field goal, from the 10:04 mark of the first half until 2:41 to play, yet cut into the Herd's lead with free-throws as MU failed to hit a field goal the last 5:34 of the half. TU out-scored the Herd 11-1 over that stretch to tie a poor-shooting first half at 20-20. Tulsa shot 29 percent (7-24, 0-5 from three) while the Herd hit only 32 percent (7-22, 3-11 from three).

In the second half, the Herd fell behind early, only to tie the contest at 33-33 with 14:20 to play on Markel Humphrey's three, one of three the freshman forward hit in the second half. But Marshall, who turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, would turn the ball back to TU on the next two possesions and Tulsa ran out to a six-point lead with 10:20 to play.

Joe Miles, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, hit a three to get MU back within three at 9:13, but Tulsa would go to the free-throw line, nailing 13-of-19 shots in the second half at the stripe, to take a 49-40 lead with 7:00 to play. The Herd made one final run, cutting the lead to 49-48 with 5:48 to play, but Travis Aikens, who hit just 1-of-6 from three in the game, missed on threes the next two trips and Tulsa ran back out to a seven point lead.

The Herd turned up the in-bounds pressure and fought back one last time. Humphrey hit one more three to cut the lead to 55-53 with 3:11 left in the game, but Charles Ramsdale of the Golden Hurricane answered with his only three of the night. The Herd turned the ball over three more times, however, in the final two minutes and lost a golden opportunity with the score 60-55 and 1:40 to play when a Chris Ross steal led to a Humphrey shot. The miss was rebounded by Mark Patton, but his put-back missed the mark and MU was forced to foul. "I thought that was a big play," said MU coach Ron Jirsa after the game. "That would have cut the lead to three with a minute and one-half to play and our pressure had been getting us back in the game." TU hit 6-of-8 pressure free-throws in the last two minutes to ice the game and set the final score at 66-57. Tulsa improved to 7-9 on the year, 2-1 in C-USA while MU fell to 1-2, 7-8 on the season. TU was led by Brett McDade with 17 points and Darold Crow with 15 points and seven boards.

"We have got to take care of the ball and we have to make our free-throws to win on the road," said Jirsa of the Herd's 21 turnovers and 12-of-20 (54.5 percent) free-throw shooting. Marshall is now 1-6 when they shoot 60 percent or worse from the free-throw line. Unbelievably, MU shot 45 percent from the three-point line, making 9-of-20, as Miles was 2-for-3 and Humphreys hit 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Humphrey also had four turnovers, while Ross had six points, five assists, five turnovers, four rebounds and four steals at the point. Mark Patton scored the Herd's first six points of the game, but ended the night with only 11 points and six rebounds. Aikens led the Herd with eight boards, but TU out-rebounded MU 32-31 and out-scored the Herd in the paint 24-16.

Marshall is back in action at the Cam Henderson Center on Saturday when the C-USA leading Miners of UTEP come to town for a 7 p.m. game. UTEP beat Tulane on Wednesday night 75-47 in El Paso, but are only 2-3 on the road this year. Marshall is 4-3 at home, but has lost three of its last four home games back to Appalachian State on December 17. The Herd will step out of conference for the annual Capital City Classic with the No. 12-ranked Mountaineers of West Virginia at what is a sold-out Charleston Civic Center next Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. The Marshall women will also be looking for a second straight win over WVU next Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m., after road games this weekend at UCF and Southern Miss. The MU women's team is 9-5 and tied for the lead in C-USA at 4-0. All games can be heard on 930-AM, WRVC, and 93.7 FM-WDGG, "The Dawg."

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