Herd Surprises UAB, Gets 62-57 Win At Home

Despite playing without the services of leading scorer Markel Humphrey, Marshall utilized strong play on the boards and hot second-half shooting to fight past visiting UAB, 62-57, in Conference USA men's basketball action at the Cam Henderson Center on Saturday.

Humphrey, not in the Thundering Herd lineup for the first time of his career due to an injured foot, watched from the bench as forward Tyler Wilkerson (Lexington, Ky.) served as catalyst of Marshall's come-from-behind win. Marshall (10-6, 2-2 C-USA) trailed 27-26 at halftime, but Wilkerson recorded 10 of his 11 points in the second half with all nine of his rebounds after intermission to spark the Herd to snapping its two-game losing skid.

Tyler Wilkerson put up two of his 11 points over UAB's Frank Holmes in the second half. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Marshall trailed UAB (12-6, 2-1) by eight, 22-14, with four minutes left in the first half but ended the opening 20 minutes on a 12-5 run. The momentum carried over into the second half as MU quickly erased its deficit and grabbed its first lead, one it would not relinquish, on a Wilkerson jumper three minutes into the second stanza.

After a defensive stop, Herd senior Mark Dorris (Cincinnati, Ohio) hit a 3-pointer on MU's next possession to go up four points, 33-29. UAB's Robert Vaden nailed one of his five 3-pointers a minute later, but the 6-foot-8 Wilkerson answered with his first 3-pointer of the season to put MU up six. Vaden responded with another trey followed by a Jeremy Mayfield layup to close to within one point, but MU scored the game's next eight points to grab its biggest lead, 46-37, at 6:46.

Tirrell Baines had this spectacular dunk over UAB's Robert Vaden in the first half of Marshall's 62-57 win over the Blazers. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

The Herd's nine-point edge did not last long as Vaden hit a pair of 3-pointers within a 90 second span to pull the Blazers to within one point of the Herd. Wilkerson stepped up in the clutch again, driving the lane from the top of the key and putting back his own miss while getting fouled for the traditional three-point play to push MU ahead 49-45.

MU's Matt Walls (Georgetown, Ky.) scored eight of his 10 points after halftime, including a pair of 3-pointers one minute and 15 seconds apart with 2:20 to go in the game. Both treys came with MU up only three points. Walls had gone 0-for-4 from the free-throw line prior to the treys and later hit both attempts from the free-throw line in the waning seconds of the game to preserve the win.

Darryl Merthie put up a shot over UAB's Frank Holmes during the first half. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Wilkerson also pulled down a key offensive rebound off a missed free throw with 48 seconds left, one of the sophomore's three offensive boards.

The Herd shot 50 percent in the second half to UAB's 33.3 percent. MU went 4-for-8 from 3-point range after halftime while UAB went 4-for-14 (28.6 percent).

Marshall guard Darryl Merthie (Lake Mary, Fla.) registered one of his three assists on Walls' last trey, driving the lane before kicking out to the Herd freshman. Merthie netted 12 points with a career-best seven rebounds. Forward Tirrell Baines (Laurens, S.C.) tied UAB's Lawrence Kinnard for the game-high rebound total (11), with four offensive rebounds for the Herd freshman.

Dorris scored a team-high 15 points with four assists and five steals. Vaden scored 23 for the Blazers with Ed Berrios dishing out a game-high six assists.

The Herd out-rebounded UAB, 42-31, a number that helped alleviate Marshall's poor night at the free-throw line (11-for-23).

MU head coach Donnie Jones, forced to shuffle his lineup with Humphrey and senior guard Taurean Marshall (Fort Washington, Md.) sidelined, inserted Adam Williams (St. Albans, W.Va.) and Robbie Jackson (Aberdeen, Md.) into the starting five. Williams' start was the first of his career.

Marshall will face intra-state rival West Virginia on Wednesday in the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic in Charleston, W.Va. Tip-off with the Mountaineers is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.

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