Marshall's Herrion: 'We beat ourselves'
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tom Herrion made clear he wasn't disrespecting West Virginia after his Marshall team lost 69-59 Wednesday in the Capital Classic, but he felt his team lost the game more than the Mountaineers won it.
Between the Thundering Herd's 13 first-half turnovers, two long stretches without a field goal and the usual mediocrity at the free-throw line, the Herd stayed behind the proverbial 8-ball in the final 24 minutes. Getting outrebounded, a no-no under Herrion, didn't help matters.
Marshall shot 36.5 percent from the floor, but that included a nice 9-of-20 performance from 3-point range. Subtract those shots and the Herd went 10 of 32 from inside the arc, barely 30 percent.
That has become Marshall's bugaboo in recent games - get open shots, get to the rim and fail to finish. That failure helped finish Marshall off for the second straight Capital Classic.
"I'm not sure West Virginia beat us tonight," Herrion said. "We contributed mightily to the loss ourselves. And I don't mean that in any disrespect to them."
The Herd jumped out to a 12-5 lead but was tied at 19 with 5:09 left. D.D. Scarver hit a 3-pointer and Dennis Tinnon made two free throws to give the Herd a 24-19 lead with 4:27 left.
From there, the Mountaineers' pressure turned the Herd offense into mush. Marshall missed its first five shots and committed three turnovers, and was lucky to be down 31-25 at the half. WVU finished on a 12-1 run, and it could have been more.
Six different MU players committed turnovers in that half, including four by DeAndre Kane.
"I thought we got shook," Herrion said. "We knew they were going to pressure us. We turned it over every which way possible. We talked about playing low, playing strong with the ball. We got shook and sped up, and clearly a bad way to go through that stretch near the end of the first half."
The turnovers were cut down to four in the second half, but so was the Herd's field-goal percentage - 10 of 29 total, 5 of 17 from inside the 3-point arc. There was a six-minute drought without a field goal, a stretch that saw WVU extend a 42-37 lead to 51-40.
Tinnon was blotted out, held to two offensive rebounds and 0-of-4 shooting - and that included a two-miss sequence in the final minute.
It was a sequence that seemed to sum up the Herd's night.
"We missed baskets point-blank," Herrion said. "We missed open 3s. Our shot selection wasn't atrocious or bad, relatively speaking. Tinnon goes 0 for 4 - doesn't happen, hasn't happened since he's been here. We didn't finish around the basket.
"Second half, we went inside, couldn't finish around the basket, didn't hit free throws to help compensate for that."
Marshall (5-4) was 12 of 22 from the line, continuing struggles there. The Herd was outrebounded 43-35, 15-10 on the offensive glass. Scarver led with 17 points and Elijah Pittman 16, both hitting four 3-pointers. Kane had 13 points and seven assists, but also had five turnovers. Pittman was 6 of 9 from the floor, but the rest of the Herd's forwards combined to go 2 for 11.
And Robert Goff didn't even get a shot in his 20 minutes, unless you count his flagrant foul with 1:37 left. He was ejected in a mini-melee that saw WVU lose four players for leaving the bench.
Herrion said he couldn't comment on the incident.
"I'm still a little befuddled on the whole thing, to be honest with you," Herrion said. "I'll talk to our coordinator of officials on the ride home tonight, watch it first. It's still a little hard to understand how that unfolded."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.