The Pirates took advantage of a 5:39 Marshall scoring drought at the end of the first half with a 14-0 run to take a 33-21 lead into the half. Before ECU's run, the game featured seven lead changes and two ties. East Carolina fired in 52.2% of its shots in the first half, compared to a frigid 27.6% shooting percentage for the Thundering Herd.
However, Marshall fought back, and 8:16 into the second half, Mark Dorris put an exclamation mark on a 20-4 MU run to open the second period with a three-pointer to put Marshall ahead 41-40. Tre Whitted added another three on the Herd's next trip down the floor, and Marshall led by three with 11:02 to go in regulation.
"That run stands out a little more when you don't play hard in the first half," said Marshall head coach Ron Jirsa. "We should have been working the whole night."
ECU responded, and the Pirates ended a 10-2 run with a four-point play from guard Sam Hinnant that gave the Pirates a cushion they would ride the rest of the way, although the Herd made it interesting in the waning minutes. Marshall cut the East Carolina to one on three different occasions, but the Pirates always had an answer for the Herd runs down the stretch. ECU dodged the final Herd bullet with Marshall down two, 61-59, with one second remaining. Joe Miles' intentional miss of the back end of a one-and-one opportunity did not hit the rim, giving the Pirates the ball and the win.
"You've got to give East Carolina credit," said Jirsa. "They fought us off and made shots tonight. On defense they played a zone, and I thought they did a good job with that."
Miles led the Herd with 19 points, and Mark Patton added 14 points and 10 rebounds, the 13th double-double of his career and his second consecutive double-double this week.
Marshall returns home for a game next Saturday against Southern Miss at the Henderson Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.