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Strong Second-Half Pushes Marshall Men to 69-56 Win Over Morehead State

Dec. 1, 2007

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Markel Humphrey (Atlanta, Ga.) recorded Marshall's first double-double of the season with a 16-point, 10-rebound effort to lead the Thundering Herd men's basketball team to a 69-56 win over Morehead State on Saturday at the Cam Henderson Center.

Marshall (4-1) held Morehead State (2-4) to 34.5 percent shooting, including a 5-for-21 mark from 3-point range. The Herd shot 42.9 percent from the field while out-rebounding the Eagles, 43-30.

Morehead State dictated the game's tempo against a Herd full-court press at the game's outset, holding as much as five-point lead at the 14:05 mark. The Herd overcame its early-game struggles by tying the game and eventually taking the lead on a Tirrell Baines (Laurens, S.C.) layup off an offensive rebound.

The teams traded baskets down the stretch of the first half before MU ended the stanza on an 8-0 run that staked the Herd to a 34-27 halftime edge.

Marshall, coming off its first loss of the season Wednesday at Wright State, played a much crisper second half. Both teams made nine second-half field goals, but the Marshall defense held MSU to a 31 percent shooting mark after intermission.

MSU closed to within two points, 39-37, at 15:15 before Humphrey sparked the Herd to a scoring run that blew the game open. The junior took the ball at the right elbow, drove the lane and emphatically dunked the ball while a blocking foul was called on Kenneth Faried. He converted the three-point play, and, after a Marshall stop on MSU's ensuing possession, Mark Dorris (Cincinnati, Ohio) drilled his lone 3-pointer of the night to put the Herd up eight points.

The six-point swing in a minute's worth of playing time gave Marshall the momentum it needed to keep MSU in a double-digit deficit for much of the remainder of play.

"We picked up our intensity a little bit more at every position," Dorris, speaking about the Herd's second-half play, said. "The guys were picking each other up and Markel had the key play with the dunk and that sparked us from there until the end of the game. We just have to find a way to get that intensity in the whole game."

Baines, the Conference USA leader in offensive rebounds, registered five more offensive boards on the way to eight total rebounds. He netted 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Dorris scored 13 points with a season-high eight rebounds.

"I thought we played extremely well, especially in the second half," Marshall coach Donnie Jones said. "Our guys came back and made some good adjustments in the second half. We really had a great effort."

Marshall point guard Taurean Marshall (Fort Washington, Md.) played 32 minutes off the bench as he continued his key early season play. Starter Darryl Merthie (Lake Mary, Fla.) was in foul trouble throughout the game and played only 14 minutes, making Marshall's seven-point, four-rebound, two-assist game that much more important.

"(Taurean) keeps doing things and getting everybody's attention to help our team win," Jones said. "He runs the club from the point guard spot and he knows when to shoot, pass and the scouting report. He looks like a veteran who's started and played here for four years."

T. Marshall also recorded his first career block in the second half and aided a 19-9 Marshall advantage in bench points.

Morehead State was led in scoring by Leon Buchanan's 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Faried tied Humphrey for the game's leading rebounder honors with 10 boards.

The win was MU's third straight over the Eagles as it extended its home win streak to five games. Morehead State has never won a game at the Henderson Center (0-7).

Marshall's next outing will be in Johnson City, Tenn., as the Herd will play the second of a home-and-home season series with East Tennessee State. Marshall defeated the Buccaneers 84-83 in overtime at the Henderson Center on Nov. 20. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET.