Marshall Men Freeze Penguins, 73-70|
Dec. 4, 2005
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Junior forward Travis Aikens (Orlando, Fla.) led five Marshall players in double figures with 17 points in route to a 73-70 victory over the Youngstown State Penguins Sunday afternoon in Cam Henderson Center.
Offensive balance was the name of the game for Marshall Sunday afternoon in the Herd win. Besides Aikens' 17 points, Mark Patton (Barboursville, W.Va.) poured in 16, Joe Miles (Forestville, Md.) added 12, Chris Ross (San Antonio, Tex.) tossed in 11, and Tre Whitted (Wilmington, N.C.) chipped in 10 points for the Thundering Herd.
Patton was 8-for-11 from the floor and added five rebounds. Ross, Marshall's junior point guard, led the Herd on the glass with six rebounds.
"We have guys capable of doing that," said Patton, when asked about Marshall's balance. "We have lots of great scorers. We are capable of putting up some points and today we played as a team. It shows when you play together you come out on top."
The Herd had its best shooting performance of the season, knocking in 44.6% of its shots. Marshall also posted its best three-point percentage so far in 2005-06, making 8-of-19 shots (42.1%) from beyond-the-arc.
Marshall (3-3) fell down early after another slow start and trailed until Joe Miles hit a three-pointer with 6:12 to go in the first half to put the Herd up, 29-28. MU maintained its lead for the rest of the period and went into the halftime break with a 40-38 lead. The Herd was led by Patton's 10 first-half points.
The Penguins charged into the second half with a 8-2 run and took the lead, 46-42, with 17:15 to play in regulation. Four minutes later, YSU's Dominique Crawford added a lay-up to put the Penguins ahead, 51-46, to give Youngstown State its largest lead since the 9:43 mark in the first half.
Momentum then switched to the Herd, as Marshall closed the Youngstown State advantage and then took the lead, 54-52, on a Travis Aikens three-pointer with 9:40 to go in regulation. YSU evened the score at 54 on two free throws by Dominique Crawford, and then Aikens responded again, this time with a dunk to put Marshall on top 56-54. The Penguins' Derrick Harris then knocked in a tying jumper to knot the score at 56 with 7:49 to play.
From that point on, Marshall controlled the action. The Herd went on a 10-2 run to take command of the contest, and held on late to keep the Penguins on ice.
"We were able to hold them when we didn't shoot the ball in the second half," said Marshall head coach Ron Jirsa. "That is one of the things we talked about and it doesn't go away when we win." "I thought that our kids played very hard all night," said Youngstown State coach Jerry Slocum. "We scrapped; we were the first to the floor on a lot of loose balls. We had a few missed opportunities - we had five possessions when it was a two point game that we did not get anything out of. We missed two open shots and had three turnovers and that was the ball game. They also made some plays."
For YSU, Quin Humphrey, brother of Marshall forward Markel Humphrey, tallied a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. John Barber scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, and Keston Roberts and Dominique Crawford each added 10 points, respectively.
The Herd now has a 12-day break until its next contest, a December 17th tilt with former Southern Conference rival Appalachian State in the Henderson Center.
"We have 12 days off when we take our finals. Our finals are very important," said Jirsa. "For us and our basketball team, it is much needed to go into the 12-day break having won. From here, we can continue and move forward and get ourselves on the winning side of things. Then, it will really feel like we have made another step.
"This was an important game mentally with this break and I wanted us to play hard and I think we played hard."