Feb. 11, 2006
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HUNTINGTON - Marshall led at the half against Memphis, 44-43, but could not withstand a 15-0 Tiger run midway through the second half, as #3 Memphis came away with a 91-81 victory in front of a sold out crowd at the Henderson Center Saturday afternoon.
Memphis improves to 22-2, 8-0 in Conference USA, while the Thundering Herd falls to 9-13, 2-7 in league action. The Tigers are one of only two teams in the country with a perfect road record at 9-0 (UCLA).
In the first half, the Herd fed off a frenzied, sold-out crowd at the Henderson Center, the first the 24-year old building has seen since December 12, 1987, against West Virginia. Marshall held an 11-point advantage at one point in the first half, and had the record-setting crowd on its feet on multiple occasions in the period.
Memphis clawed its way back into the contest at the end of the first half, but still trailed 44-43 at the halftime break, only the fifth time this season the Tigers have been behind after the first 20 minutes. The 44 points was also a season high for the Herd in the first half.
In the second half, the Herd and Tigers continued to battle early on, with Marshall maintaining its lead for the first 3:30 of the period. After Chris Ross (San Antonio, Texas) made a high, floating lay-up to make the score 54-53 with 16:30 to go, the Tigers took over, scoring the next 15 points in 4:19 to never look back. Marshall never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
"I was hoping we could sustain what we built up, but the foul trouble took away that feeling in the second half," said Marshall head coach Ron Jirsa
. "We were just unable to sustain that run."
"We knew they would go one of their patented runs," said Mark Patton (Barboursville, W.Va.)
"I was hurting sitting over there watching in the first half," said Patton after getting in early foul trouble.
Marshall was led by true freshman wing player Markel Humphrey (Ellenwood, Ga.), who scored a career-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shots from the floor. Senior center Mark Patton scored 13 points and led the team with seven rebounds, and Ross added 10 points and seven assists.
Memphis had five players in double-figures and were led by Darius Washington, Jr., and Rodney Carney, who both scored 20 points. Robert Dozier had a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds, Shawne Williams added 12 points, and Antonio Anderson chipped in 10 for the Tigers.
"If you thought they would've had a one point lead without Patton I would have said you need a drug test," said Memphis head coach John Calipari. "For us, Robert Dozier was unbelievable. We won this game because of Robert Dozier.
"Ron Jirsa should get coach of the year for that first half. They had one day turn around to get ready for that press. They caused that game to be the way it was. They played harder and with more intensity than anyone all year in that first half."
The Herd returns to the road for two games this week - Marshall plays at SMU on Wednesday night, and at East Carolina on Saturday evening.