"We got what we wanted," said MU guard Ron Blackshear."It's great to play in front of our crowd."
"We're banged up right now. We gave it our all," added MU forward David Anderson.
Miami set the slow-as-molasses tempo of the game, utilizing the shot clock for all it was worth on every possession. However, the 'Hawks couldn't use that to shake the Herd throughout most of the game. In fact, Miami never led by more than five points at any one point.
A.W. Hamilton's free throw with 4:42 remaining gave Marshall the lead for good, at 46-45. Oddly enough, Hamilton scored all 9 of his points from the free throw line.
The decisive possessions for Marshall happened over a one minute span, beginning at the 2:52 mark. Ron Blackshear came off a high post screen and nailed a three-pointer to shoot the Herd out to a 51-47 lead. After Juby Johnson hit a short jumper on the other end, Marshall's David Anderson drove the lane, guarded by three RedHawks.
Anderson dished a pass to a waiting Mark Patton, who threw down a rim-hanging dunk with 1:51 remaining. The dunk kept the Herd out by four at 53-49, but also signalled a final defensive stand.
A.W. Hamilton hustled and hit the floor for this loose ball in the second half against Miami.
"We stayed focused," summed up Marshall coach Greg White. "Over the course of 40 minutes, we outplayed them. It was anybody's game and the ball went out way tonight."
Ronny Dawn, Patton, and Hamilton made 5-of-6 free throws over the last :50 to seal the win. Miami put up a barrage of six shots on their final possession, but none could find the basket.
Marshall held Miami to just 33% shooting (19-of-57), while the Herd hit 44.7% (17-of-38). Miami did outrebound the Herd by a 36 to 26 margin. However, it was Miami's 14 turnovers (compared to Marshall's 11) that made a difference.
"Believe it or not, as bad as we shot, I thought we played hard," summed up Miami coach Charlie Coles. "I think Marshall's a highly-talented team, now. I knew it would be a tough game, and I knew that Greg (White) would coach his team well against us."
Ron Blackshear and David Anderson both had 15 points, the only two Marshall players in double figures. A.W. Hamilton (9 points), Ronny Dawn (8), and Mark Patton (7) also contributed heavily in the win over Miami.
Marshall now bumps up to 13-14 overall, 9-9 in the MAC, and will host Eastern Michigan on Monday night in the Henderson Center in Huntington, in a first-round MAC tournament game. The winner of that game will face Kent State on Thursday in Cleveland's Gund Arena.
Tickets for Monday night's game (plus the MAC Tournament) can be purchased through the Marshall ticket office. The ticket office will be open from 12 noon to 5pm on Sunday, plus from 9am until game time on Monday. Or, you can order tickets by phoning 1-800-THE-HERD.