Marshall shot 41 percent in the second half, hitting 14-of-34, and led 42-25 over a GW team that hit just 10-of-30 and 1-of-6 from three. Defensive pressure by the Colonials to start the second half, however, quickly got George Washington back into the game with a 10-2 run on two fouls, one of three shooting and a turnover by the Herd. By the first media time out at 15:44 to play in the second half, GW had cut the Marshall lead in half, from 17 to eight points behind nine points and two steals by junior guard Maureece Rice. Rice led all scorers with 23 points and had a double-double with 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
The Colonials, who have won 21 games in a row at the Smith Center on the campus of George Washington University (located just six blocks from the Lincoln Memorial), finally took the lead at the 9:06 mark on a thunderous dunk by Dokun Akingbade, who added 11 points to the GW total. It was a five point game with about 5:30 to play when Marshall missed five consecutive field goals, including four shots by Markel Humphrey (who did lead MU with 20 points and six rebounds on 50 percent shooting, hitting 6-of-12 from the field and 2-of-4 from three) and Mark Dorris, including a missed layup. "We have got to say we have to make those shots to win," said Ron Jirsa after the game. "Markel had a chance to give us a lift." Jirsa said the GW three-point defense was the difference in the second half.
"They got up on us and took it away," said Jirsa of his team shooting 1-of-12 from three in the second half after hitting 7-of-13 in the first half. "We needed to get the ball inside, but Robbie had a tough night shooting and Francois (Bro Grebe) got hit in the head, so our options were limited." Bro Grebe was reportedly OK after the game, but left with 6:08 to play with five points and three rebounds. Robbie Jackson, playing on the same floor he did in AAU ball from nearby Aberdeen, Maryland did not have the night he wanted in his first start in front of his father, step-mother, other family and friends. Jackson was 0-3 from field and 0-for-4 from the free-throw line on the night, with three rebounds. He did block two shots.
Marshall has the seven-hour bus ride back to Huntington on Sunday, then will board a plane in Charleston Tuesday for the long trip to El Paso, Texas to play UTEP on Wednesday night in Conference USA play. UTEP had a late game Friday night with UAB in El Paso, but was 8-6 entering that contest, their first C-USA game. MU is 0-1 in C-USA play, losing at Memphis in December, and falls to 5-9 overall on the season. The Herd also saw its two-game winning streak over Ohio and Virginia Tech (who upset Duke in Durham, N.C. today)come to an end. Marshall returns home for four of the next six, and plays No. 25 WVU in Charleston, after the trip to UTEP, beginning with Central Florida in Huntington on Jan. 13. MU swept UCF twice last season.