Marshall trailed at halftime, both on the scoreboard (31-27), as East Carolina led for only the second time at half this year besides a game at Rice, and being out-rebounded by a margin of 22-17. But Marshall came out with a new attitude in the second half defensively and on the glass, as they held ECU to 20 percent (6-of-30) shooting - and just 1-of-10 from three - and out-rebounded the Pirates by 28-16 in the half. "Tyler Wilkerson did a variety of little things that came up big," said coach Ron Jirsa of his freshman center. Wilkerson had five of his six rebounds in the second half and a block. ""Everybody chipped in and Markel was strong in both halves."
Markel Humphrey recorded a double-double with 12 points and ten rebounds, his fifth career double-double and second in three games (11-10 vs. SMU). Marshall also got 11 points from Mark Dorris and he and point guard Chris Ross combined for 14 rebounds at the guard positions, seven each. Ross had nine points, three assists, a steal and just one of the Herd's 16 turnovers in 35 minutes played. "Chris came up big at the end," said Jirsa. "He and Dorris settled down and we slowed the game a little in the second half. We kept their guards from getting past us in transition and stopped the offensive rebounds that hurt us in the first half."
John Fields returned for ECU after missing the last two games with a knee injury. Fields had a double-double, with 11 points and 13 rebounds including eight on the offensive glass. Darrell Jenkins had 10 points and six assists to go with three turnovers and three steals, but the Pirates shot only 20 percent in the second half and scored just 20 points. ECU scored just 17 points in the first half at Marshall in a 56-52 loss to the Herd in Huntington. "I expected them to be ready and emotion to be on their side," said Jirsa. "No team wants a long losing streak. It's bittersweet to beat a friend (ECU coach Ricky Stokes).
Marshall out-rebounded ECU 45-38 in the game. The Herd shot 37 percent from the field (19-51) and 12-of-17 from the free throw line. ECU shot only 29.5 percent on the night (18-61) and just 3-of-19 from three (16 percent). The Pirates had a good night at the line, hitting 12-of-20, 60 percent for a team that averages on 56 percent.
Marshall will fly on Thursday to Birmingham, Alabama for a second meeting with UAB. MU defeated the Blazers 61-54 in Huntington and, including tonight, is now 7-0 when they hold teams at or under 60 points (13-1 the last two seasons). "To win at UAB will be tough," said Jirsa. "We are neck-and-neck in the standings and it will be a grudge match for them with us winning the first game." Marshall is 1-1 all-time in at Bartow Arena.