And on a night where anything goes was the motto on the floor for both teams, it was the duo of Patton and Mark Dorris that stepped up for The Herd. Both players finished with identical 14-point performances against Southern Miss to lead the Marshall scoring.
"He [Dorris] came through for us," said Marshall coach Ron Jirsa. "A little steadier on offense."
The first half saw USM jump use their physical style of play to jump out to a solid 11-point lead, 25-14, with 6:45 left. It was at this time that Dorris began to make his move on the offensive side of things. Dorris drained a three with 5:40 left to cut the USM lead down to only six at 25-19. Marshall's 12-4 run near the end of the half closed the gap to just three points, but USM widened that gap out to four points at the half, 31-27. Travis Aikens ended a scoring drought of his own in that run, draining one three.
"They collapsed down on him [Patton], and that opened it up for us guys on the wing," said Dorris. Patton and Dorris each scored six in the first half.
Mark Dorris looked for room past USM's Courtney Beasley in the first half. Dorris scored 14 points in the 62-57 win over USM.photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Once Marshall figured out USM's game, the second half took on a different look compared to the first half. It took Marshall just five minutes to erase the Southern Miss lead and take the lead for good, courtesy of a Joe Miles three at the 15:14 mark. That put MU up by a 38-35 margin. Marshall extended that lead to 10 points over the following nine minutes, going on a 13-6 run highlighted by yet another Dorris three (he would hit 4-of-6 in the game) for the 51-41 lead with 7:03 left.
"I'm glad we were able to figure it out," said Marshall coach Ron Jirsa. "It was a good second half."
"They're a hard team to play against," admitted Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy of Marshall.
Southern Miss didn't go away easily, however, down the stretch. Marshall had to endure the last 5:29 shooting only from the free throw line to seal the win. The Herd hit 9-of-12 free throws during that stretch to keep the score at the final five-point gap of 62-57.
In addition to Dorris and Patton each with 14 points, Tre Whitted added a silent 8 points, and Chris Ross and Travis Aikens each added six points (Ross dished out 5 assists as well). Marshall shot 41.3% in the game (19-of-46) including 7-of-22 from three-point range. The final flurry of free throws ended with MU hitting a solid 81% for the game (17-of-21).
Marshall now prepares for the final home game of the season on Wednesday night against Central Florida. Game time is set for 7pm at the Henderson Center.