March 8, 2007
Download Free Acrobat Reader
MEMPHIS - Memphis guards Jeremy Hunt and Doneal Mack led five Tiger players in double figures with 19 points apiece as #5-ranked and #1-seed Memphis defeated Marshall, 92-71, to advance to the Conference USA Tournament Semifinals on Friday.
The loss ends Marshall's season at 13-19, while the Tigers improve to 28-3.
The Herd fell victim to a 24-2 run in the first half, as the Tigers forced 17 first half Marshall turnovers, which resulted in 26 points. The run came in the middle of the first half, expanding a three-point Tiger lead at 22-19 with 9:54 to go in the opening period to a 25-point lead at the 4:05 mark. Memphis never looked back the rest of the way.
The turnover column was the only blemish on a stat sheet that had the Herd at 44.2% for the game, 42.1% from three, and 81.0% from the charity stripe. In the first half, Marshall shot extremely well, firing in 10-of-18 from the field (55.6%) and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc (50%). However, the Marshall turnovers allowed Memphis to attempt 20 more shots from the field, and the Tigers took full advantage, making 20-of-38 of their first half attempts.
In the second half, the Herd never got closer than 13 points.
"They're a super team, and they played hard," said Marshall head coach Ron Jirsa of Memphis. "They forced us into turnovers early. The points off turnover were the big key. We battled in the second half. Our team will battle; our team will fight, but we weren't able to close it to a reasonable margin. They're just a super team, and they're going to go a long way."
Marshall was led by Mark Dorris
(Cincinnati, Ohio), who ended the game with 21 points. Markel Humphrey
(Ellenwood, Ga.) was the other Herd player in double digits with 14. Humphrey and Dorris also tied for the team lead in rebounds with five each.
For Memphis, Jeremy Hunt and Doneal Mack scored 19 points to lead the Tigers. Joey Dorsey scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, Chris Douglas-Roberts added 11, and Robert Dozier chipped in ten points.
"I really liked our first half and our energy and our extra passing," said Memphis coach John Calipari. "This is a good one to get under our belts. The hardest one is the first one. I have done this for a long time. When the other team has a win under their belts, and they are feeling it, they don't go away. They got it to 13 and 15. We got it back to 21. They got it back to 15 and 13."