GAME NOTES: Still waiting to register their first true road win of the season, the Marshall Thundering Herd give it another go at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday night, as they challenge the UTEP Miners in Conference USA action.
On a positive note, the Herd managed to not only snap a three-game slide in their most recent outing, but they also got the league schedule off on the right foot with a 79-61 romp over Tulsa on Wednesday night at home. With the victory Marshall moved to 7-2 at home, and is now an even 8-8 on the campaign overall.
Meanwhile, the Miners rebounded from a 62-58 loss to Colorado State on Jan. 2 by taking out Tulane three nights ago, 66-57. The victory was the fourth in the last five outings for a program that began the season with just one win in five tries.
Marshall won the meeting between these two teams last season by a score of 76-60 in early January, which means the all-time series now numbers 7-2, in favor of the Miners.
The defense for the Herd went to work in the first half against visiting Tulsa, holding the Golden Hurricane to a mere eight field goals, making it that much easier for Marshall to secure the 18-point win. Elijah Pittman tallied 19 points, D.D. Scarver and DeAndre Kane 16 apiece, the latter shooting 4-of-6 behind the 3-point line and handing out seven assists. Dennis Tinnon contributed with a game-high 11 rebounds which gave the Herd a 47-32 edge on the glass. Pittman, the leading scorer for the Herd in three of the last four outings, is producing 14.8 ppg overall as he shoots not just 52.0 percent from the floor but also 40.6 percent behind the 3-point line. Closing in on Pittman is Kane (14.3 ppg) who might not be that great of a shooter (37.0 percent), but at least he is reliable when it comes to assists, since he has 94 over 12 appearances.
Going up against a Tulane squad that had won 11 straight home dates, the Miners scored the first points of the night and never looked back, hitting on an even 50 percent from the field while holding the hosts to only 33.3 percent. Konner Tucker accounted for 14 points, converted 4-of-7 beyond the arc, followed by Julian Washburn and Jacques Streeter with 12 and 10 points, respectively. McKenzie Moore came up just short of a double-double as he logged nine points and just as many rebounds. As the only player to have started all 13 games for the Miners thus far, it only makes sense that Washburn is the leading scorer for the group with his 13.5 ppg, although his average could be even higher if not for the fact that he has shot just 2-of-22 behind the 3-point line which means he is making things more difficult for himself. As a team, UTEP is producing 63.3 ppg, identical to the points posted by the competition to this point.
The Thundering Herd proved that they could win on the road in conference play right out of the gate, which means UTEP needs to be on its toes in order to keep the same thing from happening at the Don Haskins Center tonight.
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