"It was a game we couldn't grab control of," said head coach Ron Jirsa as the Herd fell to 9-14, 4-5 in Conference USA. "Our defense was good enough to win, but we could not get our layups to go." In fact, the Herd missed 21 shots that were either layups or in the lane, even though Marshall took 63 shots to just 50 for Tulsa. The Herd hit 23 shots, while TU just made 19 and both teams hit five threes. The disparity came at the free throw line, where Tulsa was 20-for-26 and the Herd was just 9-of-14 on the night. Marshall, in fact, never got to the bonus in either half while Tulsa was on the bonus with 8:15 left in the first half and at the 11:13 mark of the second half.
Tulsa also took advantage of the foul trouble on the Herd guards, as Chris Ross drew three fouls while Darryl Merthie and Mark Dorris each had four in the game. TU used guards Rod Earls and Brett McDade to drive on the Herd's foul-troubled defenders and they combined to score 10 of TU's 13 points in the final six minutes-plus. Ross is also struggling with the knee he sprained against West Virginia. "Chris is about 80 percent," said Jirsa of his point guard, "but there's no way to rest him in season." Ross still managed to give the Herd nine points, six assists and zero turnovers in 29 minutes.
Travis Aikens led the Herd for the second-consecutive game, scoring 18 points and nine rebounds. Aikens was 3-for-5 from three, while Ross hit 1-of-2. The rest of the team however hit only 1-of-12 from behind the arc, and just 2-of-13 in the second half of the game. Jean Francois Bro Grebe had a nice night as he blocked four more shots to go with six points and six rebounds. Bro Grebe has 14 blocks in the last three games and 53 on the season, third-best all-time at Marshall behind only Charlie Jones (58) and Omar Roland (103). Tyler Wilkerson added four points, two rebounds and two blocks as MU blocked seven shots. The Herd has blocked 25 shots in its last three games.
Earls led the Golden Hurricane with 18 points, while Ben Uzoh had 12 ponts and McDade added 10. First-time starter in 6-foot-11 Jerome Jordan scored six points and had four rebounds and three assists, much to the delight of 5,310 TU fans at the game. Marshall will travel to Orlando, Florida on Thursday for a Noon meeting with Central Florida's Golden Knights on Saturday. "UCF is another tough team," said Jirsa of the Knights, who won big over East Carolina to stay in second place in Conference USA on Wednesday night. ""We'll both be fighting for a win on Saturday." The Herd won at UCF last season behind a career-night of 22 points for Aikens, who is an Orlando native. UCF won in Huntington last month 77-71.