HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall forward Dennis Tinnon couldn't repeat most of Coach Tom Herrion's halftime speech Saturday night, as the Thundering Herd men's basketball team trailed Coppin State by eight points.
He could say it was loud.
"The whole time," he said. "From the time we went in to the time we went out."
The speech worked. The Herd clawed ahead of the Eagles in the second half and, behind 20 points from D.D. Scarver and 15 points and 15 rebounds from Dennis Tinnon, Marshall escaped with a 69-63 win over Coppin State.
Marshall's shooting percentages skyrocketed from the first half to the second, in all facets. The Herd (6-4) went from 31.6 percent from the floor for the first half to 58.3 percent for the second. After making just two of 16 first-half 3-pointers (12.5 percent), the team made five of nine (55.6 percent) in the second. And after missing their only two free throws of the first half, Marshall made 10 of 17 in the second.
As important, the Herd pushed the Eagles' (1-8) percentages lower, especially from beyond the arc. Coppin State made five of nine first-half 3-pointers. They shot just two of 10 in the second.
"We needed to understand that defense was going to win this game," Tinnon said. "We couldn't give them wide-open threes and let them penetrate to the cup."
That happened often to Marshall in the first half, essentially from the opening tip. Coppin State took a quick 8-2 lead as Marshall made just one of its first 10 shots. Herrion called his first time out less than a minute into the game and called a second at the 17:29 mark.
"I don't think I ever used two time outs that quickly in a game," Herrion said. "I think that speaks to how I felt."
The doldrums continued for the rest of the half. Defensive breakdowns allowed the Eagles open layups and dunks and uncontested 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Marshall dominated the glass, but couldn't convert on its putbacks.