Marshall Men Wins Inaugural Conference USA Game Against UCF, 73-69|
Jan. 12, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. - Travis Aikens (Orlando, Fla.) led four Marshall players in double figures with 17 points in a 73-69 win over UCF at UCF Arena in Orlando. The Herd improves to 7-6, 1-0 in Conference USA play, while the Golden Knights drop to 6-7, 0-1 in league play.
Marshall also got double-digit games from Mark Patton (Barboursville, W.Va.) who scored 14 points, Joe Miles (Forestville, Md.) who added 13, and Chris Ross (San Antonio, Texas), who chipped in 11 points.
The Herd and Golden Knights tangled in an exciting, see-saw battle in front of 2,871 raucous fans at UCF Arena. The lead changed 19 times in Wednesday's contest, and the score was tied five times throughout the night.
"We feel good about the win," said Marshall head coach Ron Jirsa. "However, we've got to keep it in perspective. It's very early in the season and there's a lot of games left."
The Golden Knights took a 36-32 lead at the half after a Josh Peppers three-pointer in front of the Marshall bench as time expired in the opening stanza.
UCF opened the second half on an 8-2 run to expand their lead to eight, 44-36, with 16:34 to go in the game. It would be the Golden Knights' largest lead of the game. Two minutes later, a Mark Dorris (Cincinnati, Ohio) three-pointer capped a Herd 8-0 run to tie the game at 44.
For the next five minutes, the lead changed hands three times and the score was tied once at 52-52 with 9:38 to go. UCF scored the next five to go up 57-52, but Marshall responded with a five point run of its own to once again tie the game, this time at 57. After the Herd tied the game at 57, Ryan Lamb (Hiram, Ga.) got a steal on the ensuing inbounds play and got fouled on his shot attempt. He made one free throw to put Marshall ahead, 58-57. The sophomore's free throw ended up putting the Herd up for good with 7:09 to play.
"Turnovers were the key," said Jirsa. "We were able to turn them over late in the game at crucial times. We needed to get as many chances as we could get on the offensive end."
After Lamb's free throw, Marshall went on an 8-3 run to go ahead, 66-60, with 3:33 to go. MU kept UCF at bay the rest of the way with clutch offensive rebounding and free throw shooting down the stretch.
"We made enough free throws and played with enough poise at the end of the game to come away with the win," said Jirsa.
For the game, the Herd shot 47.9% from the field and 47.1% from beyond-the-arc, its best 3-point field goal percentage of the year. MU also made 65.5% of its free throws, and out-rebounded the Golden Knights, 35-32. Marshall also outscored UCF, 35-10, in bench points.
UCF's Justin Rose led all scorers with 21 points on the night. Josh Peppers added 16 points, and Anthony Williams chipped in 15 for the Golden Knights.
Marshall returns to action Saturday night against UAB in the Henderson Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.