Memphis Beats Herd 92-71 In C-USA Tourney

Marshall fell in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament to the No. 5-ranked Memphis Tigers, 92-71, at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn. The Herd finishes the season at 13-19, while the No. 1 seeded Tigers will play No. 4 seed Tulane at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Rice, the No. 7 seed who upset No. 2 UCF, will face cross-town rival Houston, the No. 3 seed, at 7 p.m. (all times Eastern).

The Memphis defense was too much for the Herd in the first half, as Marshall turned the ball over 17 times. The Tigers had a 26-0 edge in points off turnovers in the first half and only turned the ball over four times themselves in the opening half. Memphis led by as much at 28 points in that first half before going to the locker room with a 52-31 lead, despite Marshall having one of its better shooting halves. The Herd hit 56 percent from the field (10-of-18) and 4-for-8 from the three-point line, but because of the give-aways had 20 fewer shots than Memphis took to open the first 20 minutes.

The good news for Herd fans was the team never quit in the game at the home court of the Tigers in the regular season. UM has won 30 straight on this court, second only to BYU's 31-straight home winning streak. Marshall played even with the Tigers, 40-40, in the second half and, in fact, forced Memphis into 12 second-half turnovers and turned that into 12 points. MU also cut down on its own turnovers, just five additional in the second half. Thanks to that, the Herd actually took eight more shots and hit one more than Memphis in the latter part of the game, but missed on the final four three attempts of the year.

Marshall's senior class appeared in the final game in a green and white uniform including Tre Whitted (six points, two rebounds and two assists) finishes his career tied with Rodney Holden (1984-88)with 117 games played at Marshall, second only to Holden's teammate at MU in Skip Henderson (125 games). Tre finishes his career eighth in threes made with 155, seventh in three attempts and 28th in steals (70) and 30th in assists (139). Whitted finished with 860 points and 384 rebounds.

Point guard Chris Ross (six points, three steals, one rebound and one assist versus Memphis) finishes No. 10 all-time with the Herd with 303 assists in two seasons, passing Andy Paul Williamson (1987-90), who had 299, to get into the top ten. Ross also finished with 104 steals, and that is 20th at Marshall all-time. Ross finishes with 408 points in his career, 193 rebounds and 59 starts in 60 games played. Forward Travis Aikens (four points, two assists and one rebound) finished his career with 274 rebounds and 534 points, appearing in 58 games over two years and starting all 32 games this season, the only player besides Markel Humphrey to start every game in 2006-07.

Humphrey had 14 points and five rebounds for the Herd in the loss, while Mark Dorris was in double-figures for the 15th time in 16 games with a team-high 21 points and five rebounds against Memphis. Ross and Whitted added six points and Aikens four, but combo-guard Darryl Merthie had his best night since scoring eight versus Ohio back on Jan. 3 as the sophomore has eight points, hitting on 3-of-5 shots, and added two assists and one rebound in 17 minutes. Jean Francois Bro Grebe finished the night with five points, four rebounds and two blocks, raising his season total to 65, second-most in a single season in MU history.

Memphis put five players in double figures, led by Jeremy Hunt and Doneal Mack each scoring 19 points off the bench. Joey Dorsey had a double-double with 11 rebounds, eight on the offensive glass, and 14 points while Chris Douglas-Roberts added 11 and Robert Dozier had 10. Memphis hit 50 percent from the field (32-of-64) and 41 percent from three (9-for-22). The Tigers won the rebounding battle, 35-29, and out-scored MU 28-to-12 in points off turnovers.

Marshall will return three starters and eight letterwinners for 2007-08, including Humphrey (660 points, 448 this season, and 352 rebounds in two seasons), a third-team All-C-USA selection this year and All-Frosh team last season, and Dorris (588 career points, including 435 this season) as well as Bro Grebe (145 points and 112 rebounds in two seasons, but just 42 games due to injuries last year), whose 68 blocks in a career are ninth all-time for the Herd, as starters for next season. The Herd will add 6-foot-4 guard Kentucky transfer Adam Williams of St. Albans (W.Va.) High School, who will be a sophomore, and add at least three players who signed in November: 6-foot-7 forward Demetrius Young, who is from Yuba College in California and was the Bay Valley Conference Player of the Year (18 points per game, 11.1 rebounds per game); 6-foot point guard Stanley Pringle, who was the Suncoast Conference Player of the Year (19.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game); and 6-foot-5 guard-forward Bobby Shannon, out of Temple Hills, Maryland.

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