Feb. 12, 2008
Marshall at SMU Game Notes
DALLAS - The Marshall men's basketball team can even its Conference USA mark and move to 3-0 all-time versus SMU when it travels to the Lone Star State to face the Mustangs at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.
The Thundering Herd (12-10, 4-5 C-USA) snapped its two-game losing skid in a big way with a 34-point win over East Carolina on Saturday. The win was Marshall's biggest in conference play since a 96-50 win over former Southern Conference foe Georgia Southern on Feb. 26, 1996 - when Donnie Jones was on the Herd bench with former MU coach Billy Donovan.
The Herd sank a season-high 33 field goals (33-for-63, 52.4 pct.) against the Pirates and turned the ball over a season-low nine times. MU dished out 21 assists, tying for its most all-time in C-USA play - also vs ECU (2/1/06) - despite playing without starting point guard Darryl Merthie (foot).
MU out-rebounded ECU 42-24 for a season-best plus-18 rebound margin.
The Herd, however, is forced to battle more injury woes as guard Matt Walls suffered a broken hand on Saturday. The freshman, who leads MU with 36 three-pointers, will be out for four weeks.
Merthie will be a game-time decision at SMU while Markel Humphrey continues to play through a stress fracture in his foot. Forward Jean Francois Bro Grebe did not dress against the Pirates (knee) and guard Taurean Marshall, who suffered a slight ACL tear on Jan. 5, played five minutes at UCF on Feb. 6 but did not play versus ECU.
Herd forward Tyler Wilkerson has seen a surge in his offensive numbers over the last seven games. The sophomore has reached double-digits in scoring six out of the last seven contests, including a career-high 25 pts vs East Carolina, for 13.7 ppg and a team-best 56.1 FG pct. in that span. Prior to this stretch, Wilkerson had never scored 10 or more points in consecutive games, having now done so in MU's last five outings.
SMU (8-13, 2-6), losers of eight of its last 10 games, is coming off a 68-53 home win over Rice on Saturday. The Mustangs' other league victory came in overtime at Moody Coliseum, a 69-67 thriller over UCF. SMU, last in C-USA play in turnover margin (-6.0), is 7-7 at home this season.
Senior guard Jon Killen leads the Mustangs in scoring at 12.7 points per game. The Arlington, Texas, native is sinking 41.5 percent of his 3-point attempts (49-for-118) and is third in C-USA in assists per game (4.4). Freshman Papa Dia, from Senegal, and 7-foot-1 center Bamba Fall combine for 6.9 and 5.6 rebounds per game, respectively. Both players also average double-digits in scoring while Fall's 2.3 blocks per game is third in the conference.
SMU is shooting 42.5 percent from the floor and scores 64.6 points per game. The Mustangs sink 6.7 three-pointers per game and own a rebound margin of -1.5.
Marshall, 2-0 all-time versus SMU, has come out victorious by three points in each previous meeting with the Mustangs. The Herd squeaked out an overtime affair in 2006 at Moody Coliseum - one of five C-USA venues that the Herd has posted a win in - and held off SMU in Huntington last season.
Humphrey enjoyed the Moody Coliseum glass in Marshall's lone visit to the facility, cleaning up for a career-high 15 rebounds in an overtime affair on Feb. 15, 2006. In two career games against SMU, Humphrey averaged 8.5 ppg and 12.5 rpg, collecting a double-double in last season's matchup with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The game will be video streamed live on Herd All-Access, via HerdZone.com. The contest can also be heard on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network with Steve Cotton (PxP) and Woody Woodrum (color).