Pitts Honored By C-USA As Co-Rookie of Week

IRVING, Texas - Marshall University freshman Damier Pitts (Charlotte, N.C.), along with Memphis freshman Tyreke Evans, has been named Conference USA Men's Basketball Co-Rookie of the Week, the league office announced earlier this week. Pitts, a point guard, averaged a team-best 15.5 points in two games last week, including a team season- and career-high 20 points in MU's 84-80 win at Boston Univ.

For Damier Pitts, 9-of-20 points at BU came from the free-throw line (9-for-11), with a 5-for-6 mark from the stripe with under a minute remaining to close out the Terriers. Pitts played all 20 second-half minutes at BU in leading Marshall, now 3-4 on the season, to its first non-conference road win in over two years, since the Herd won at Morehead State in Dec. of 2006 under former coach Ron Jirsa.

Pitts was also named in this week's issue of The Sporting News (Dec. 8 cover date) as one of the "Top Hoops Freshmen You've Never Heard Of." Of Pitts, TSN said, "Pitts, who has a confident shot and a winning attitude, decided to join a team looking to improve in Conference USA." MU was 16-14 in year one under second-year head coach Donnie Jones. Other players named were Phillip McDonald of New Mexico, Luke Babbitt of Nevada, Howard Thompkins of Georgia, Paul McCoy of MU's Conference USA rival, SMU, and both Greg Echenique and Mike Rosario of Rutgers.

Marshall's freshman backcourt of Shaquille Johnson (#23) and Damier Pitts (#3) pressure Mike Smith of ETSU in the second half of the Herd's home loss, 76-72, to the Buccaneers last Tuesday. Pitts was named C-USA Co-Rookie of the Week this week by the league. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff

For a week that included a loss at home to East Tennessee and the road win in Boston, Pitts posted a 3.5 assist/turnover ratio, with seven assists to just two turnovers, and went 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) from the three-point line for the Herd.

So far on the season, Pitts is averaging 10.6 points per game (4th on team, and trails Chris Lutz by only 0.1 ppg) and has 20 assists, 15 turnovers and 10 steals for the season. He is shooting 32 percent from three (10-of-31) and 82 percent at the free throw line in 31 minutes per game played. Pitts has really stepped up his game since Marshall got off to a 1-3 start to the season in the Glenn Wilkes Classic against WVU Tech in Huntington and playing Morgan State, UW-Green Bay and Ole Miss in Daytona.

In those first four games, Pitts hit just 24 percent of his shots (10-for-42) and only 20 percent of his threes (3-for-15). His assists-to-turnovers ratio was minus-six, having 12 turnovers and just six assists. Compare that to the last three games, in which the Herd beat Old Dominion and won at Boston University, but lost to ETSU. Pitts in those games has shot 44 percent from the floor (11-of-25) and from three (7-of-16). His assists-to-turnovers in the last three games is plus-11, with 14 assists to just three turnovers while averaging 36 minutes per game.

Pitts and the Herd are in final exams at Marshall University. MU will resume non-conference action on Saturday at home against the Mavericks of UT Arlington at 7 p.m. The game is part of a doubleheader for Marshall's men's and women's team, as the women face long-time rival Ohio U. that afternoon at 3 p.m. All fans are being asked to bring canned food to either or both games for the Huntington Area Food Bank. Marshall's Student-Athlete Council is competing against the other SAC groups in C-USA to see who can raise the most food for area food banks.

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