Marshall (1-1) took the lead for good at the 2:59 mark in the first half at 23-22, and saw its lead grow to as many as 19 points midway through the second half. However, ETSU (1-1) chipped away at the Herd's lead the rest of the way and got to within three with 1:05 remaining at 74-71. With the Bucs pressuring Marshall full court on the ensuing possession, the Thundering Herd's Joe Miles knifed through two defenders and found a wide open Mark Patton for a layup to push the MU lead back up to 76-71. The Herd held on in the final minute by making four out of six free throws and came away with the 80-76 victory.
Both teams got off to a slow start to the game, with the scoreboard showing only 18 points collectively for both teams ten minutes into the contest.
For the game, Marshall shot only 39.1% from the floor (25-64), while ETSU shot 37.5% (24-64). ETSU out-rebounded Marshall, 45-43, and committed 23 turnovers, compared to the Herd's 20.
Each member of the Herd's starting five scored in double figures, with A.W. Hamilton leading the way with 16 points. He also added seven assists, three rebounds, and two steals in 33 minutes of action. Enoch Bunch chipped in 13 points, David Anderson poured in 12, while Miles and Patton added 12 and ten points, respectively. LaVar Carter also had a good night for the Herd with seven points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots in 19 minutes of play.
The Bucs' heralded junior point guard, Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.), had a stellar day with 35 points. Smith was 11-of-30 from the floor, ten-of-12 from the free throw line. He also added 4 steals in 34 minutes of action. Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio), James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.), and Travis Strong (Memphis, Tenn.) each added ten points, with Anthony also tallying a double-double with ten rebounds.
The Bucs return home to face Fresno State Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. from Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn. The day will also mark Keith Jennings Day, as East Tennessee State will honor the 1991 All-American.