HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Nov. 20, 2007) - In a game that Marshall never led in regulation, the Thundering Herd managed to overcome a 12-point second half deficit to force overtime and eventually escape with an 84-83 win over ETSU Tuesday in non-conference men's basketball action at the Cam Henderson Center.
The Buccaneers (1-2) led 61-49 with just over 11 minutes left in the game, only to see the Thundering Herd (2-0) battle back to tie the game on guard Darryl Merthie's lay up with just over three seconds left in regulation. In overtime, the two teams traded the lead five times, and the contest was not decided until the final eight seconds when Bucs' guard Dequan Twilley (Shelbyille) stole a Marshall in-bounds pass and dished the ball to junior guard Courtney Pigram (Memphis), whose last second 3-pointer rimmed out.
"That's a tough one to take because we did a lot of good things tonight," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team will face Marshall again Dec. 4 in a rare home-and-home non-conference series. "But we didn't do a lot of things well, like fouling too much, committing too many turnovers and not rebounding in the second half. We're just three games into a 35-game season so we're going to get better from this, but this one hurts."
In the first half, the Bucs didn't trail at all, jumping out to a 13-6 lead in the first five minutes. While Marshall did battle back to tie the game at 18-18 with 11:39 remaining before the break, the Bucs took a 27-24 game at the 7:34 mark and went on a 13-4 run to enjoy their largest lead of the half at 40-28. However, at that point the Herd used an 8-0 run to close out the half and trail just 40-36 at the break.
The second half began with the Herd staying close, but an ETSU run midway through the second 20 minutes matched the Bucs' largest lead of the game at 61-49. But again, Marshall - taking advantage of ETSU's foul trouble and scoring 11 more points from the line than the Bucs - tied the game in the final seconds. Twilley had a desperation 3-pointer bank off the rim no good and the two teams entered overtime tied at 77-77.
In the overtime, neither team led by more than two points, and the lead changed five times. Twilley's lay up attempt with just over 10 seconds left rimmed out and Marshall got the call on the out-of-bounds, leaving the Bucs needing to grab a steal. Twilley got what the Bucs needed but Pigram's shot - which would have given him 1,001 points for his career - rimmed out.
Junior forward Kevin Tiggs (Flint, Mich.) led the way for ETSU offensively, scoring a career high and game high 26 points. Meanwhile, Pigram and sophomore guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) each pitched in 13 points, while senior forward Kenyona Swader (Smyrna) and senior post Andrew Reed netted 12 and 10, respectively. The Bucs shot 55 percent from the floor and out-rebounded Marshall 40-38 (even though the Herd held a 20-10 advantage on the offensive glass).
For Marshall, Tyler Wilkerson scored a team high 22 points, while Mark Dorris added 17, Markel Hunphrey posted 15 and Tirrell Baines pitched in 14. The Herd forced 23 ETSU turnovers and dished out 17 assists to ETSU's 15.
The Bucs will return to action over the holiday weekend when they travel to face UNC Asheville at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.