Marshall Climbs Past Mountaineers, 64-60

Jan. 5, 2006

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BOONE, N.C. - The Thundering Herd ended an Appalachian State 23-game home non-conference winning streak Wednesday night, defeating the Mountaineers, 64-60, at the Holmes Center in Boone, N.C.

The win avenged a 73-65 Mountaineer victory in Huntington on December 17.

Marshall led from the opening tip, but needed a Markel Humphrey (Ellenwood, Ga.) three-pointer with under a minute to play to seal a Thundering Herd victory. Leading by only two points, 57-55, with :43 to play, Humphrey knocked a double-clutch three-pointer in from the right wing as the shot clock expired to give the Herd a five-point cushion it would use the rest of the way.

"I didn't know how much time was left on the shot clock," said Humphrey. "It was a relief shot. Everyone was telling me to shoot it, so I jumped as high as I could, double-clutched it, and it went in."

After Appalachian State's Nate Cranford hit a three to close the gap to 60-58, senior center Mark Patton (Barboursville, W.Va.) made two free throws to push Marshall's advantage to four. Mountaineers' point guard D.J. Thompson made a running lay-up with :20 to go to make the score, 62-60, but the Herd broke ASU's full-court press with a Tre Whitted (Wilmington, N.C.) lay-up to secure the game, 64-60. Chris Ross (San Antonio, Texas) stole the ensuing inbounds pass and Marshall came away with the victory.



Whitted scored a game-high 14 points for the Herd, while Patton added 12. Ross led the Herd on the glass with a career-high nine rebounds.

The Herd took a 39-30 lead into the half after playing one of its better halves of the season. Marshall shot 57.7% from the floor, 36.4% from three, and made all five of its foul shots in the opening stanza. MU committed nine first half turnovers, which allowed the Mountaineers to stay close to the streaking Herd. ASU fired in only 34.5% of its shots in the first half and 27.8% from beyond-the-arc.

In the second half, Marshall's shooting cooled considerably, but the Herd got defensive stops to hang on for the victory. MU shot only 25.8% in the second half, and ended the game at 40.4% from the field. Despite the poor shooting, Marshall hustled its way to a number of offensive rebounds, including a few clutch boards in the waning minutes from Mark Dorris (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Patton.

"Coaches emphasize an effort chart, and that was our main focus," said Tre Whitted. "We fought hard on the glass, and we got it in and then back out for some good shots. We had poise on offense - we turned down some shots tonight, and it worked for us."

One thing that did not waiver was the Herd's shooting at the free throw line. Marshall made 10-of-11 shots from the charity stripe for a 90.9% clip.

"Appalachian State has been a tough team for us," said head coach Ron Jirsa. "We came in and wanted to work hard and see where the chips fall. Our effort tonight was far greater than the last time we played, and our poise was better. We managed to win a hard fought game."

The Herd return to action Saturday evening against the 20th ranked George Washington Colonials at the Henderson Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally by CSTV.