Marshall men's basketball: Herd falls to No. 11 Cincinnati, 72-56
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marshall men's basketball Coach Tom Herrion said that if his team hits three benchmarks, it usually makes for a good game. He wants 10 or fewer turnovers. He wants to hold the opponent below 40 percent shooting. He wants to pull down at least 10 more rebounds than the other team.
He didn't get any of those Saturday afternoon at the Civic Center, and that allowed No. 11 Cincinnati to pull away for a 72-56 win.
The Herd (6-5) allowed the Bearcats (10-0) to shoot 45 percent from the floor, outrebound it 40-31 and Cincinnati's defense forced Marshall into 20 turnovers.
"We were inept offensively," Herrion said. "We were not able to get in any flow or rhythm offensively. Twenty turnovers is going to cause a problem every night."
Nine of those 20 turnovers came in the first 8:06 of the game, as Cincinnati's pressure, trapping defense gave the Herd fits. Marshall last led the game when D.D. Scarver's second 3-pointer of the game gave the Herd a 9-7 lead with 16:30 left in the first half. Then the Bearcats' defense tightened up and Marshall never led again.
Cincinnati forced six turnovers in less than three minutes and Marshall's shooting woes around the basket continued. The Herd made all five of their first-half 3-point attempts. They made just three of 17 shots from everywhere else on the floor. The Herd went into halftime down just 29-25 thanks to the Bearcats' own poor shooting. Cincinnati made just 13 of 38 first-half shots and only one of 11 from beyond the arc.
Point guard Tamron Manning said that, as the game wore on, the Herd became better against the press.
"It was tough to handle at first," said the freshman, who played 30 minutes at the point Saturday. "But once we got comfortable, we started to handle it a little better. We jumped in the air to make a lot of passes, which was probably the most negative thing we did. But as the game went on, I thought we handled it."
While Marshall kept missing in the second half, Cincinnati regained its shooting touch, especially from long distance. The Bearcats made five of six from 3-point range and 16 of 26 from the floor after halftime, and the Herd trailed by single digits just once after the 12:40 mark.
Scarver's 3-pointer with 8:52 left cut the Bearcats' lead to 56-48. Cincinnati responded by outscoring Marshall 15-6 over the next 4 minutes, 52 seconds, led by a pair of threes from redshirt junior guard Sean Kilpatrick.
"We've got guys who can really shoot the ball on this team," Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin said. "So, eventually, shots started going down for us. Once that happened, we were in business."
Cashmere Wright led Cincinnati with 14 points, while Kilpatrick added 13 and Justin Jackson scored 10. Scarver, who hit five of seven threes, and Elijah Pittman each scored 20 points for Marshall, while Robert Goff scored seven. No other Herd player scored more than three. Dennis Tinnon pulled down seven rebounds, but none off the offensive glass.
Marshall has little time to rebound. The Herd hosts Savannah State on Wednesday, then travels to Rupp Arena in Lexington for a game with defending NCAA champion Kentucky.
"We've got to respond," Herrion said. "We've got to react. We've got some young guys that have to adjust to playing a little different role. When you throw them to the wolves a little bit, they'll gain great experience from this."
-- Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.