Herd Men Beat ODU, 68-64, Saturday

Marshall coach Donnie Jones got through last season's 16-14 mark with a short bench he thought he had addressed with five returning players to add to three transfers, four freshman and a prop who sat out last season. In a 68-64 win over Old Dominion, Jones found himself back to the future as the Herd was down a player who was dismissed, two who couldn't play and a couple more playing sick.

But despite all those obstacles, Marshall (2-3) found a way to win with just nine players in the game and only eight playing significant minutes. "It's great to win a game after the long Florida trip, which really helped our ball club (today)," said Marshall head coach Donnie Jones. "I'm as proud of this win as any win that I've been apart of since I've been here, just because of the adversity this basketball team went through this past week, how they came back and practiced and how they came out and found a way against a really good basketball team in Old Dominion to get a victory. I don't know if we win tonight if we didn't go through what we did last weekend (in Daytona)."


Tirrell Baines had this thunderous dunk in front of Old Dominion's Ben Finney in the second half. Baines finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds.. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

The Herd lost three close games in Daytona Beach last weekend in the Glenn Wilkes Classic at the Ocean Center. MU lost by five to Morgan State, six to Wisconsin-Green Bay and by four to Ole Miss. Since then, sophomore Brandon Powell was released from the team on Thursday for violation of team rules while Chris Lutz, the three-point specialist, has missed over a week of practice with a hamstring injury. Freshman Dago Pena was also sidelined this game with an injury while junior forward Tyler Wilkerson had a case of the flu along with a wrapped elbow and knee.

But other players stepped up with their ailing teammates. Tirrell Baines scored 15 points on a 6-of-11 shooting night, and six of his team-leading rebounds were on the offensive glass as the Herd pulled 12 offensive as a team in a 28-to-23 edge in rebounds over the Monarchs (1-3). For the fifth consecutive game, freshman Shaquille Johnson finished with double-digit scoring with 10 points in the 11:30 a.m. start in front of an outstanding crowd of 5,130.


Marcus Goode put up two of his 11 points over Old Dominion's Kent Bazemore in the first half. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

Also contributing to the win is a crowd favorite in just two home games. Sophomore Marcus Goode, who sat last year with academics, came in during the first half and hit his first five shots to give the Herd its first effective inside presence in the game. The 6-foot-10, 300-pound center showed his soft touch like he did against Ole Miss, when he was 7-for-7 for 14 points. He would finish with 11 points, eight rebounds and four on the offensive end. He also had an assist, block and steal.

Wilkerson gave the Herd six points in 16 minutes that left the junior gassed after missing practice with the flu. But Baines, Wilkerson and Goode helped clamp down on Gerald Lee of ODU, who came into the game averaging about 17 points and six rebounds per game. The Herd inside game limited the nephew of former Herd great Russell Lee to just 10 points and two rebounds in the contest. Chris Cooper, who came into the game averaging two points in three games, led Old Dominion with 16 points in the contest, while Darius James added 11 points from his point guard position.

The Herd shot 50 percent for the game, 27-of-54, and an even better 154-of-24, 58 percent, in the second half. Marshall led the Monarchs in points in the paint (plus two), points off turnovers (MU with 18 points off 17 give-aways), second-chance points (12-to-3) and fast break points (plus two). Marshall had just 12 turnovers, a real problem last week in Daytona. "After Daytona, we had to come back and grind hard in practice," Johnson said. "We started correcting the things we didn't do right in Daytona. We're trying to not look back at that weekend and just going forward."

ODU shot 57 percent for the game, 24-of-47, but it came on seven less shots than the Herd. They were 7-of-14 from three, but just 3-of-5 at the free throw line. MU hit free throws late, 5-of-6 in the final 32 seconds, to ice the game and were 8-of-14 from the line on the day (57 percent).

With a doubleheader of basketball and football on Saturday for Herd fans (and football lost a heartbreaker by three to Tulsa, 38-35, Saturday evening), it will be a more traditional doubleheader on Tuesday at the Henderson Center. The Marshall women, off to a 4-1 start after beating Morehead State earlier this week, will host the University of Texas at Arlington on Tuesday at 4 p.m. C-USA Player of the Week last week, Tynikki Crook, had 16 points and eight rebounds in the win while junior Chantelle Handy socred a career-high 15 points against the Eagles. The women's game will be heard on ESPN 930 AM, WRVC in Huntington.

The pre-game show for the men's game will air at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN 930 as well as The Dawg, 93.7 FM, on Tuesday as the MU men face a former Southern Conference foe in the East Tennessee State Bucs at 7:30 p.m. The network pre-game is at 7 p.m. for those Huntington stations as well as others on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network. ETSU dropped to 3-3 on Saturday with a 82-69 loss at Bradley of the Missouri Valley Conference in Peoria, Ill. The Braves hit 13 threes and shot 54 percent against the Bucs outside the arc. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. between MU and ETSU.


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