Marshall Moves To 6-0 At Home With 66-60 Win

Marshall improved to 6-3 on the season, and stayed undefeated at home with its sixth victory, by downing the Princeton Tigers 66-60 on Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Cam Henderson Center. Marshall's players will have time off for Christmas until the evening of Dec. 26th after gaining revenge for a pre-holiday loss at Princeton last season, 61-45, in New Jersey. MU plays Lipscomb Dec. 29 at 3 p.m.

Marshall was once again led by Markel Humphrey, with 19 points and seven rebounds. It was the 18th consecutive game the junior has scored in double digits, and Humphrey was nearly perfect from the floor, hitting 6-of-7 shots, and the line, hitting 7-of-9. The Herd put the victory away, as the slower Princeton Tigers cut into a one-time, 12-point lead, by hitting nine of its final 10 free throws. Marshall made 19-of-25 at the line.

"I think I worried about, more than anything, an emotional let-down from the Louisville game," said Herd head coach Donnie Jones. "We went from a high-energy, emotional game to a contest against a very good, deliberate ball club that is coached very well in what they do. We hadn't seen their offense, and our two freshmen had never seen it. We really executed well, and had to be sure not to beat ourselves by launching a bunch of threes. We wanted to go inside."

The Herd, which had only 18 points in the paint against UL, scored 38 of its 66 points in the paint and only shot 10 threes, making three. Marshall's defense was a big part of the win as well, as Marshall forced 11 turnovers and scored 16 points off those turnovers. Especially important was the defense of Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, the Herd's point guard, on Princeton's Kyle Koncz. Koncz, who scored 20 on the Herd in Princeton's win last season, started the game 4-for-4, and three-of-three from three to score 12 points in the game's first ten minutes before P-MAC shut him down. Koncz would not score again, and was only able to get off one shot in the entire second half.

"We did what we call 'Solo', and I told P-MAC 'You're solo on (Koncz)'. Somebody else was going to have to beat us," said Jones of that effort. "They got 20 points off the bench from guys who weren't putting up those numbers this year. We forced them to give up on the threes and take the ball inside, and I will take twos instead of threes." Kevin Steuerer and Mike Strittmatter each scored 10 points off the bench, with 13 of their 20 points coming in the second half. Guard Marcus Schroeder also had 10 points for Princeton, who hit only f-of-18 from three (27.8 percent).

Freshman Tirrell Baines continued his outstanding freshman campaign, scoring 10 points, with three rebounds and a block. Every Marshall player scored, with Darryl Merthie adding nine points and Tyler Wilkerson scoring eight plus three rebounds. Matt Walls scored only two points, but had a career-high six rebounds and added an assist. P-MAC had seven points, five assists and zero turnovers in 34 minutes at the point. Marshall shot 50 percent from the floor, hitting 22-of-44, and Altidor-Cespedes had two of the Herd's three threes on ten tries behind the arc.

Marshall's players will be leaving to see family over Christmas and report back for practice on Dec. 26th. The Herd has three more games on this homestand before opening Conference USA play with Rice on January 9 in Houston, Texas. Lipscomb is in next Saturday at 3 p.m., the Herd then hosts San Diego at 2 p.m. on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, and then will play Winthrop on January 5 at 2 p.m. That game is part of a men's-women's double-header, with the MU women hosting East Carolina at 5 p.m. in the Conference USA opener for Head Coach Royce Chadwick's 7-4 Herd.

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