Feb. 9, 2010
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University men's basketball team had seven players score in double figures, led by a career-high 18 points from Dago Pena to defeat NAIA Division I Rio Grande, 115-73 Feb. 9 inside the Cam Henderson Center. Pena made 7-of-13 shots and grabbed six rebounds as the Herd upped its record to 17-7 on the season. Chris Lutz and Tirrell Baines each poured in 16 points apiece. Lutz made 6-of-7 attempts from the field, along with a perfect 4-for-4 on 3-pointers, while Baines tallied a double-double with 11 rebounds.
Hassan Whiteside (15), Antonio Haymon (13), Damier Pitts (11) and Shaquille Johnson (10) rounded out the double-digit point scorers. Whiteside added nine rebounds and five blocks, with Pitts dishing out nine assists. Leading 11-8 at the 15:30 mark in the opening half, MU embarked on an 11-0 spurt including a pair of baskets from Pena to extend the early advantage to double digits at 12:49. The Red Storm continued to hang around, utilizing a 13-4 rally, which included three-straight buckets to get within in six, 28-22, with 9:55 left. The Herd would answer back after a Whiteside slam dunk from Damier Pitts highlighted an 8-0 run to put MU up, 34-22. Rio Grande charged back to only trail by five points, 38-33, thanks to a 9-2 scoring rally, which included a trio of 3-pointers, two from Doug Campbell. Chris Lutz scored eight of the Herd's final 10 points of the first half, to put MU up 53-39 heading into the locker room.
Over the first seven minutes of the second half a 29-7 Herd scoring outburst took place, quieting the Red Storm to hold an 82-46 lead and put the game out of striking distance. During the seven-minute span, Lutz sank three shots, including two from behind the arc. With 7:47 left in the contest, Noah Fischer
drained a three-pointer from the corner to help MU reach the "Century City" mark for the fifth time this season at 100-59. Bobby Horodyski
buried a trey at the top of the key with 38 seconds left to cap of the scoring for the Herd and bring the game tally to the final score, 115-73. The Red Storm had four players with 10-or-more points, led by P.J. Rase's 18 point effort.
"We played much better at the start of the second half," said Marshall head coach Donnie Jones. "Rio Grande came out and played really well at the beginning of the game and we knew that they would. They played with intensity and at a different level than we did to start the game off. We decided to rest Tyler Wilkerson tonight and Antonio Haymon did a great job starting tonight. There was a lot of effort off the bench tonight; we had seven guys with double figures. In those first 10 minutes of the second half we took it to a different level. We were playing at the level we need to play at. I thought our guys did a great job sharing the basketball, they had 28 assists tonight."
Next on the slate for the Herd is a trip to Birmingham, Ala., to take on Conference USA opponent UAB on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (EST).
NOTES: The game counted as an exhibition for Rio Grande...Antonio Haymon made his first career start at Marshall in place of Tyler Wilkerson who sat out the game with a sore ankle...Haymon's insertion marked the seventh different starting lineup this season for the Herd...The 115-point total was the fifth time the Thundering Herd crossed the century mark this season, the most by a Thundering Herd squad since the 1995-96 season (6)...MU's 28 assists are the fifth most in a game since the program began keeping the category in 1970...Marshall blocked 11 shots, the sixth most in a game since that category was established by the school in 1975...The 62 points Marshall scored in the second half is the 11th most in a half in school history...Marshall shot 60.8% (44-of-73) from the field, the 14th highest in a game in program history...Marshall has now won all 14 meetings against Rio Grande.