Herd's Pittman hit with indefinite suspension
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Elijah Pittman's tumultuous time with the Marshall basketball program hit another low with his indefinite suspension, announced Monday.
The 6-foot-9 senior, who leads Conference USA in scoring with 21.4 points per game, likely will miss the Capital Classic against West Virginia on Saturday.
The MU athletic department issued the following statement: "Elijah Pittman has been suspended indefinitely from the men's basketball program. The department will have no further comment on this matter."
Coach Tom Herrion didn't elaborate. "It is what it is," he said. "You've got to make the best decisions for your program."
Pittman started this season scoring 29 or more points in four of the first five games, topped by a 35-point outing against North Carolina-Wilmington.
But that fell to three points in the Herd's most recent home game, Nov. 26 against Western Kentucky. Five minutes into the game, Pittman was ejected for committing a "flagrant 2" foul for throwing an elbow.
As it turned out, the Herd regrouped and not only erased a 16-point deficit, it won 74-64.
That is MU's last victory, which has been followed by three straight road defeats. Pittman's shooting took a turn for the worse, as he went 14 of 42 from the field, 5 of 24 from 3-point range and 10 of 28 from the line in that stretch, with one technical foul.
That "T" came at East Tennessee State, and was his second of the season and seventh of his career. It was committed in an unusual manner - he was talking trash while shooting free throws. (He missed both.)
After that game, which Marshall lost 88-78, one ETSU player noted that Pittman would take a dribble or two and launch a 3-pointer, and did not like to drive to the basket. To back up that theory, 75 of Pittman's 136 field-goal attempts have come from 3-point range.
He has hit 28 of those 75 attempts, and is shooting 47.8 percent from all distances. His free-throw shooting is barely above that at 48.6 percent. He has four assists in 249 minutes.
Pittman has been playing under the cloud of misdemeanor battery charges in connection with an October 2012 incident near the MU campus. Pittman allegedly hit a man who tried to break up an altercation between Pittman and his girlfriend.
Pittman faces a Jan. 16 court date, the same day the Herd is schedule to play a home game against North Texas.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.