The Toreros' 48-hour span was a polar opposite of Marshall's. Fresh off a convincing win at Rupp Arena over Kentucky at almost the same time Marshall was faltering against Lipscomb, San Diego ran into a rejuvenated Marshall team and never saw The Herd coming.
"It seemed like they [Marshall] beat us to every ball," said San Diego coach Bill Grier, "and that's what we did to Kentucky."
Taurean Marshall made not one but two consecutive steals from San Diego's Devin Ginty (right) in the first half. Marshall converted both steals into easy fast-break layups. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
After the Saturday loss to Lipscomb, Marshall coach Donnie Jones inundated his team with video of the loss, video of what championship teams do, and a spirited practice that featured three players getting banged up (all three played against San Diego). The combination worked, apparently.
"I told the guys that this game was won in practice," said Jones. "That was the best 40 minutes we've played."
The play of Taurean Marshall broke the game wide open in the first half, and two specific plays were key. On consecutive possessions, Marshall stole the ball from the Toreros' Devin Ginty and converted the picks into easy fast-break layups. The 16-8 Marshall lead would quickly increase to as many as 20 points by the 6:42 mark.
Despite being hooked by San Diego's Rob Jones, Marshall's Robbie Jackson hauled in this rebound in the second half of The Herd's commanding 76-60 win over the Toreros. Jackson scored six points in 10 minutes of action. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
The Herd forced 10 San Diego turnovers in the half, and turned them into 15 points. Matt Walls scored 10 of those points on perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field. Marshall had a convincing 43-24 lead at the half.
"We were running in quicksand," added San Diego coach Grier.
What is perhaps most impressive about The Herd's performance is that San Diego never got back in the game in the second half. Bracing for the inevitable run, The Herd kept up the defensive intensity the rest of the game. The Toreros only cut the margin to the final 16 points via a Ginty three with just 1:17 left.
"The most impressive thing is that we were able to sustain the lead," added Jones. "We have to have something from everybody."
Tirrell Baines battled with San Diego's Nathan Lozeau for a rebound in the second half. Baines scored 19 points to lead The Herd. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Freshman Tirrell Baines was the go-to guy for Marshall, scoring 19 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Matt Walls finished with 12 points (missing only one of his six shots), and Mark Dorris scored 10 points. Big men Robbie Jackson and Tyler Wilkerson each added six points off the bench, a critical statistic for Jones.
"He just went at us all day," said San Diego coach Bill Grier of Marshall's Tirrell Baines, "and we didn't have an answer for him."
Marshall shot a blistering 50.0% from the field, including 36.8% from three (7-of-19), while also making a solid 78.9% from the free throw line (15-of-19). The Herd also outrebounded the Toreros by a commanding 34-22 margin and forced 16 San Diego turnovers.
San Diego (7-9 overall) had but one scorer in double digits, do-everything guard Brandon Johnson scored 27 of the Toreros' 60 points, hitting 5-of-8 from three.
Marshall (7-4 overall) now readies for Winthrop next Saturday afternoon, a home game at the Henderson Center in Huntington.