"Rebounding," was Marshall coach Donnie Jones' one-word opening statement in the post-game press conference.
Tyler Wilkerson was the rebounding force in effect for Marshall, which is now 14-10 overall and 6-5 in Conference USA. The latter record is significant for the fact it's the first time that Marshall has ever been above .500 in their three years of conference play. Wilkerson grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 15 points to lead Marshall.
Pierre Marie Altidor Cespedes drove past Tulane's Kevin Sims in the first half. He finished with 3 pointsand 3 assists. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
"They were flying around, making great basketball plays," summed up Tulane coach Dave Dickerson of Marshall. "My guys didn't respond at any point in the game."
Marshall shut down the lane for Tulane, limiting the Green Wave's second chances at baskets to literally nil. Tulane's four offensive rebounds netted 6 second chance points — compared to Marshall's 15 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds. An early 19-6 run enabled Marshall to lead by as many as 15 points in the first half, 30-15.
"Our guys did a good job of giving them only one shot," said Marshall coach Donnie Jones of denying Tulane any offensive rebounds.
Markel Humphrey drove past Tulane's Daniel Puckett. Humphrey scored 8 points and had 8 rebounds in the win. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
"Those are the key elements of winning the game," added Marshall guard Mark Dorris, who racked up 10 points. "That goes to show how deep our team is. With more threats, that makes our team that much more dangerous."
And that depth was found in Darryl Merthie. The Marshall guard came off the bench to score 14 points, including two-of-four from three-point range. The threes came on consecutive possessions, and led to Marshall's 12-point halftime lead (37-25) over Tulane. The Green Wave could only cut the Marshall lead to 9 points in the second half at 42-33, but Pierre-Marie Altidor Cespedes drained a three and pushed the lead back out to 12 points.
Darryl Merthie drained consecutive threes in the first half against Tulane. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
Marshall enjoyed a constant double-digit lead from that point (13:42 remaining) until the final buzzer sounded.
"We're looking at a team that can be one of the top three or four teams in the conference at season's end," said Tulane coach Dave Dickerson of Marshall. High praise, indeed.
Marshall looks to continue its Conference USA winning streak at home next Wednesday, when UTEP comes to Huntington for a 7pm game.