Balanced Effort Leads to 76-60 Marshall Win


Nigel Spikes scored 10 points in Marshall's win on Wednesday.

Nigel Spikes scored 10 points in Marshall's win on Wednesday.

Jan. 4, 2012

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall put forth a complete team effort on Wednesday as it opened Conference USA play with a 76-60 win over UTEP at the Cam Henderson Center.

Seven players scored at least seven points for the Thundering Herd (10-4, 1-0 C-USA), which won its first game over the Miners (7-8, 0-1 C-USA) since joining the conference six seasons ago.

Junior forward Dennis Tinnon led the way with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. He also had a career-high four assists and three steals.

Senior guard Shaquille Johnson scored a season-high 12 points including two three-pointers. He added five rebounds and a career-high five steals.

Junior forward Nigel Spikes made 5-of-9 shots from the field and recorded 10 points and eight rebounds.

Marshall outrebounded UTEP 42-23 and of its 28 made field goals, 18 were assisted.

"Our ball movement was great and rebounding was great," said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. "If you can outrebound a team by plus 19 in a conference game, it's outstanding."

The Herd jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but the Miners responded with 13 unanswered points to go ahead 13-6. UTEP held its largest lead of nine (22-13) with 9:24 to play in the half.

Spikes slammed home a missed three-pointer by Damier Pitts at the buzzer, to help Marshall close the half on a 22-12 run and lead 39-34 at the break.

The second half was all Marshall as it held its largest lead of 23 with 2:11 to play before handing the game over to its bench which scored 29 points.

Freshman forward Jamir Hanner had the best game of his young career with a personal-best eight points and six rebounds in 12 minutes of play.

"Jamir Hanner and Nigel Spikes gave us great play off the bench and good energy," Herrion said. Marshall was 6-of-16 from three-point range, three of which came from senior guard Dago Pena.

"I am really happy for our seniors for beating them (UTEP) for the first time. It's good to be 1-0 in Conference USA."

Julian Washburn led the Miners with 15 points. UTEP was held to just 26 points in the second half.

Marshall will next be in action on Saturday at Rice. Game time is set for 8 p.m. ET.