Marshall rode a roller-coaster Saturday, much like those found at Carowinds Amusement Park near Rock Hill, S.C. That's the town Winthrop calls home but on the home court of the Thundering Herd, the Eagles found themselves down 17-0 to MU to open the game, and down six at half, 29-23. Back came the team ranked No. 27 in RPI to lead the Herd by six in the second half and, more amazingly, Donnie Jones' team found itself down five points with 1:03 to play.
Tirrell Baines grabbed one of his 13 rebounds over Winthrop's Chris Gaynor. Baines also scored 19 points to lead the Herd. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Mark Dorris, a third-year senior who began the game on the bench for the first time since Feb. of 2007 due to an elbow injury this week, scored 10 of the Herd's final 13 points in regulation. More importantly, he scored a lay-up with 50 seconds left to cut the lead to three. "Coach made us aware in the huddle that we didn't have to hit a three," said Dorris. "We could take it if open, but the guys set a great screen for me to drive for the lay-up. I got to the rim, then came back and got a key defensive stop." Then Dorris hit a three with :27.9 left to play in regulation to tie the game for the first time at 51-51.
"We had to pick it up when Taurean went down, and I just tried to work hard to help the team. They have been there, Winthrop down 12 on Miami down there last Saturday and came back to win," said Dorris. "We had to take what they gave us, not just what we wanted to shoot. I was having trouble getting into the flow, missing two days of practice with my elbow. When you miss two days, it really throws you off. It seemed like down the stretch, I was able to get it going. Eventually, in basketball like everything else, what goes up will eventually come down."
In the overtime, the Herd took the ball inside, shooting 4-of-6 from the field and hitting 8-of-10 from the free throw line to edge Winthrop 16-11 in overtime and win 67-62. The Herd held the Eagles to 1-of-5 from three in the overtime period and out-rebounded the Eagles 7-to-3 in the extra period. Marshall had a 45-36 edge in rebounding, led by freshman Tirrell Baines with 13 rebounds (nine on the offensive glass) and 19 points for the second consecutive game.
Matt Walls and Markel Humphrey teamed up to make this steal from Winthrop's Taj McCullough in the first half. Winthrop committed 19 turnovers in the OT loss to Marshall, leading to 20 points for the Herd. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
"We got off to a great start, but you know with a great team like Winthrop you are going to have to play hard each half to win," said Herd Coach Donnie Jones. "It was a great win, as any win is, and we had a plan when we set the schedule up. Winthrop was a great test heading into Conference USA play on Wednesday.
"We have to convince the players this is not the 1970s or 1980s at Marshall, this is the 2000s and we have to establish ourself every game we play." Jones knows his team lost a leader when Marshall went down with what may be an ACL tear, for a senior who has had knee surgeries on both knee, costing him most of his junior and sophomore years. "We lost Taurean Marshall, then got in some foul trouble and back came the Eagles. We got Mark into the game and he knew he would have to play hurt with Taurean out."
Markel Humphrey had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Herd, while Dorris had 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Jones said he turned to his leaders and they turned it up when the Herd really needed to in the second half and overtime. "I hope it's a combination of getting into their heads and Mark and Markel showing leadership at the crucial moments in the game," said Jones. "Mark stepped up big down the stretch. We never quit and our crowd never quit. They were fantastic tonight.
Humphrey had five of the Herd's 16 points in overtime, while Dorris added four more. Baines converted on two offensive rebounds, sticking the ball back for two rebounds and four points in the extra stanza. Matt Walls, who struggled shooting (3-for-10 from the field, 1-of-8 from three), hit his only shot in overtime while Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes hit a free thrown. PMAC also was assigned to guard Winthrop's Michael Jenkins, who scored 20 in regulation. He held Jenkins to just 1-of-3 in the overtime to lead the Eagles with 23 points. Jenkins was 7-for-13 for Winthrop from three, but the rest of the team was just 2-for-11, 1-for-5 in OT.
"We got after them on defense in the overtime," said Dorris. "Me and Markel, we talk before the games about leadership, about leading this team. If it's not our night scoring, you've got to get a rebound, or do the little things that add up to a win."
The Herd now heads to the Lone Star State to face the Rice Owls to open Conference USA play. So far this season, the Herd is 0-3 on the road and Dorris knows that has to change, starting this week. "When you've got a young team, and we have some great young players, you have got to learn to win on the road," said Dorris. "We really haven't won on the road in my three years here, but that has to change.80 percent of teams win at home, but good teams win on the road and that's the next step for us as a team."
Rice is just 3-10 on the season, falling at Oklahoma on Saturday 61-49, for its third loss in a row, but those losses were at No. 10 Texas A&M (68-41) and at No. 15 Vanderbilt (76-58). Rice opened the season with four straight losses at TCU, then home to Duquesne, Richmond and Arkansas-Little Rock. They have wins over Eastern Illinois, at Texas State and against TCU at home. The Herd will tip off at 8 p.m. Eastern from Reliant Arena in Houston, Tex., in its first trip to the Owls in men's basketball. The Herd is 1-1 against Rice in Huntington, losing 78-75 in overtime two years ago and winning 69-64 last season behind 18 points by Dorris and 16 points from Humphrey.
With the overtime win, the Marshall men's team wins two overtime games in a season for the first time since 1977-78. Stu Aberdeen's first MU team beat Morehead State and The Citadel in two overtime wins that season at the Cabell County Veteran's Memorial Field House on the way to finishing as the runner-up to Furman in MU's first Southern Conference Tournament in Roanoke, Va. Next Saturday, the Herd hosts No. 2, 13-0 Memphis at the Henderson Center and under 2,000 tickets are available. The MU Alumni has a limited number of $9 tickets, and will host a pre-game pep rally at the Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe' at Third Avenue and Ninth Street in Huntington from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. The first 2,000 fans at the Cam will receiver foam cheer noodles and all fans are being asked to wear Marshall green for the game. The "Zooperstars," a group of costumed performers who tour the country, will perform at halftime. Call 1-800-MU ALUMX for information on the alumni event, or 1-800 THE HERD for ticket information.