HUNTINGTON - To say Marshall flipped the script Wednesday night would be an understatement.
Coming off three losses that grew progressively more hideous, the Thundering Herd finally took it out on somebody, hammering Tulsa 79-61 to open Conference USA play. A crowd announced at 5,115 at Cam Henderson Center was pleasantly surprised.
So was Herd coach Tom Herrion and his players - not that they put behind the 37-point loss to Ohio and won this game, but the degree of domination over the Golden Hurricane. The game was nowhere near as close as the score, as the Herd led by 29 points five minutes into the second half.
With DeAndre Kane back in the starting lineup, Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver hitting shots and the front line reasserting itself, the Herd won for the fifth time in six home games against Tulsa. In the process, everything and everybody decorated in kelly green seemed to perk up.
"We played without any agendas tonight," Herrion said. "We played so cohesively, every guy contributed, it was good. I've got great faith in my kids, they've shown great character."
About the only negatives one could see for the Herd (8-8, 1-0 C-USA) was 20 turnovers and a 16-8 Tulsa run to the end of the game, both inconsequential. All other factors worked squarely in Marshall's favor, including:
At the other end, the Herd yanked down its usual 14 offensive boards, and turned those into 12 second-chance points. Two such baskets came off missed MU free throws, sparking the Herd's 19-0 run that turned a 6-5 deficit into a runaway.
Dennis Tinnon led with 11 rebounds and Nigel Spikes added nine.
Tinnon's effort was singled out.
"I thought the first 20 minutes Tinnon played as well as he's played since he's been here, without scoring a point," Herrion said. "We had him on Haralson a lot, we ran a lot of switch situations. He impacted the game more than anybody without scoring a point, and I told him that."