The win, coupled with the win at home over Tulsa on Wednesday, gave the Herd back-to-back wins in Conference USA for just the second time in year two in the league and improved Marshall's record to 7-11, 2-3 in C-USA. The Green Wave fell to 8-8, 1-3 in league play. Marshall was led by Markel Humphrey with 20 points, hitting 7-of-13 shots on a night that saw MU shoot 51 percent in the game with a 28-for-55 shooting night from the field and 42 percent from three (5-of-12).
"It's good to put to wins together," said MU head coach Ron Jirsa. "We didn't have a lot of poise, when Tulane fought back to go up seven. We went too fast in a similar spot at UTEP, so we took a time out and reminded the team to play their game." Marshall was up 15 early in the second half, but went cold shooting as the Herd missed nine shots over six minutes and TU surged to the lead by out-scoring MU 18-1 from 17:51 until 12:05, when Jean Francois Bro Grebe finally hit a lay-up. Tulane actually led by seven with 10:50 to play, but Humphrey scored six points over the next three minutes and helped Marshall get back in the game with a Tre Whitted lay-up with 7:10 on the clock that cut the score to 60-59 Tulane.
"Markel put us on his shoulders and got us back in the game," said Jirsa. Also big in the final three minutes was Whitted, who scored five of his 10 points after Marshall retook the lead at 68-67 with three minutes to play. Whitted, the Herd's only four-year senior, buried a three - the only three the Herd made in the second half - to put MU up four at the 1:30 mark. Then, Whitted followed a blocked shot off Bro Grebe with a slashing rebound and off-balance hook shot that just beat the shot clock and kept Marshall up four with 45 seconds to play. It was one of five rebounds Whitted grabbed to lead Marshall in that category.
"That was a heck of a shot by Tre," said Jirsa. "We needed a break on the road and got one. Bro Grebe also made a big play late in the game, the team did a really good job late." Whitted said he wouldn't get any style points for the hook, but was glad it went in. "It was ugly, but I knew the clock was winding down so I just grabbed it and threw it up." In fact, the c Tulane clock operator appeared to reset the clock after Bro Grebe was blocked with about two seconds to shot, with the shot never hitting the rim while Whitted crashed hard for the rebound to set MU up for the win with big free thows from Humphrey, Ross and Mark Dorris, who scored 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, in the final 30 seconds. Whitted praised fellow seniors Chris Ross, who had five points, five steals, four rebounds and six assists, and Travis Aikens, who scored 12 of his 13 points in the first half and hit 5-of-10 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. "Chris, Travis and me, we try to lead. Chris did a great job of finding me with the ball for the three and Travis really gave us a spark in the first half."
Marshall will return to the Mountain State for the next four games, including three conference games at home after the annual battle with West Virginia in the newly-named Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Charleston Civic Center. The women, who have won two in a row as well with wins at Memphis (Thursday) and last night at UAB, 75-69 in overtime, will tip at 5:30 p.m. and can be heard on WRVC 930 AM. The men tip at 8 p.m. on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network, including WRVC and WDGG 93.7 FM "The Dawg." Marshall's men will then host Houston (1/27), East Carolina (1/30) and UAB (2/3). "It's a fun game with WVU," said Whitted. "We are looking forward to it." Jirsa expressed similar sentiments. "We want to go and compete hard. It's an exciting game for our fans and players, but we have a lot of work to do when we get home Sunday." Marshall's men have won the last two games over WVU, while MU women's coach Royce Chadwick is looking for his first win against the Mountaineers.