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Herd Grinds out 58-44 Win over Gamecocks

Freshman Justin Colman attemps a shot against JSU's Rinaldo Mafra in the Herd's 58-44 win.

Nov. 13, 2011

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Leading by one point at the half, the Marshall men's basketball team overcame a slow start to beat Jacksonville State 58-44 Sunday at the Cam Henderson Center.

The Thundering Herd improved to 2-0 on the season while the Gamecocks fell to 1-1.

"I'm thrilled with the win," said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. "I hope people start listening to me when I say we're not that good yet. Things don't need to come easy with this group. A little adversity is a good thing."

Marshall struggled on offense, but its defense was active, holding Jacksonville State just 30.9 percent shooting from the field compared to 40.8 percent for the Herd. MU allowed just two three-pointers and none until 5:17 remaining in the game. Also, the Gamecocks' total of 44 points was the least amount of points the Marshall program has allowed against an NCAA Division I team since a 55-44 win over Fresno State in 1985.

The Herd was led in scoring by sophomore forward Robert Goff with 12 points and many timely dunks. Sophomore guard DeAndre Kane had a balanced effort with eight points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block.

Senior guard Damier Pitts had 11 points to go with four rebounds and four assists.

Marshall fell behind early on and trailed 15-10 with just under eight minutes to play in the first half. The Herd then closed the half on an 11-6 run to take a 21-20 lead into halftime.

Both teams hit just eight field goals in the first half. Marshall shot 30.8 percent from the field and Jacksonville State shot 38.1 percent.

"Our shot selection was good," Herrion said. "We just need to make shots. Pitts and Dago (Pena) are good shooters that are missing shots. Playing through that is great for our upcoming schedule."

The game saw six lead changes, four of which came in the second half. At the 16 minute mark, a Goff dunk put the Herd ahead 24-22. Nearly a minute later, a Pena steal led to another Goff slam and gave Marshall a 29-24 lead.

The Herd shot 52.2 percent in the second half and its lead never dropped below double-digits after taking a 40-30 lead with 7:16 to play.

Freshman guard Chris Martin scored the first points of his career in the final two minutes of action. First was a layup to put Marshall up 17 points and then a free throw to give the Herd its largest lead of the game, 58-40.

The Herd recorded 16 assists and committed just 11 turnovers.

"We had seven early," Herrion said of the turnovers. "Fewer than 10 is our goal so 11 is a good number for us. We had some sloppy ones late. We are too talented offensively to give up possessions."

Jacksonville State was led by Tarvin Gaines' 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Marshall will next face Northwestern State on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Cam Henderson Center.