Tulane Ends Herd's Tourney Hopes, 48-47

MEMPHIS - The eighth-seeded Marshall University men's basketball team fell in heartbreaking fashion, 48-47, to ninth-seeded Tulane on Wednesday in Conference USA Championship first-round action after the Green Wave closed the game on an 11-0 run to erase a 10-point MU lead. Marshall took its biggest lead of the game, 46-36, with 6:46 remaining, but failed to score for the remainder of the contest.

The Herd was forced to play much of that drought without the services of senior guard Taurean Marshall and sophomore forward Tyler Wilkerson, both of whom went down in the second half due to injury.

Taurean Marshall, who missed the past two contests after re-aggravating a knee injury, returned to the Herd for 12 minutes and scored two points with three assists and a steal before being forced from the game. Wilkerson's hyper-extended elbow kept him out of the lineup until the game's final minute.

Tirrell Baines led Marshall with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the 48-47 loss to Tulane in the Conference USA tournament in Memphis. file photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Freshman Tirrell Baines paced the Herd with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth career double-double. Wilkerson was the only other Herd player in double figures, registering 10 points in 27 minutes of action.

The Herd shot 36.4 percent from the floor, including just 31 percent in the second half. Defensively, Marshall was able to limit just one Green Wave player, Kevin Sims, to double figures with 14 points. The Wave shot 40 percent from the floor in a turnover fest that saw TU commit 18 turnovers to MU's 16 miscues.

It was Sims who drew a foul on Wilkerson, with the Herd up one point and six seconds remaining, and sank the game-tying and game-winning points from the free-throw line.

With 1.7 seconds on the clock, Marshall inbounded the ball to Markel Humphrey. The junior's 3-point attempt from the top of the key was blocked by Donnavan Stith to end the contest.

Tulane (17-14) led 26-25 at halftime in a tight, defensive battle. Marshall jumped out to a 6-0 lead at the outset and Tulane quickly responded with an 8-0 run. Sims hit a running hook in the lane to give the Green Wave its slim one-point advantage going into the locker room.

Early in the second, Marshall looked to be pulling away as it slowly built to its 10-point advantage with 6:46 left. Unfortunately for the Herd, ice cold shooting and key rebounds by Tulane haunted MU down the stretch and ultimately cost it the game.

MU senior Mark Dorris netted a season-low five points. He finishes his career with 996 career points. Fellow seniors Jean Francois Bro Grebe, Pierre-Marie Altidor Cespedes and T. Marshall closed out their careers by helping the Herd to its first winning season since 2001.

Marshall defeated Tulane twice during the regular season but could not pull off its first three-game sweep since 2000. The Green Wave moves on to face No. 1 seed Memphis on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.

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