Feb. 16, 2008
Huntington, W.Va. - Senior David Gomez produced his 12th straight double figure scoring contest with a game-high 15 points, but the Green Wave offense struggled with just 17 field goals in a 68-54 loss to Marshall in front of 6,153 at the Cam Henderson Center.
Tulane (15-9, 5-5 C-USA) dropped its third straight decision since putting together five straight wins through the first half of Conference USA play. Since reaching the midway point, Tulane is 0-2 with six league games remaining in the regular season.
Marshall (14-10, 6-5 C-USA) won its 12th home game of the year and its third straight since beginning the conference season with a 3-5 mark.
The Thundering Herd never trailed in this game and topped TU in both the paint and on the perimeter. Marshall's inside game out-scored Tulane, 30-26, and its shooters nailed 6-of-14 three-point attempts. Meanwhile, Tulane banked its lone three-pointer, which came from sophomore Kevin Sims midway through the second half, and the Herd held the Green Wave to just four offensive rebounds, while collecting 16 boards on the offensive end.
Tulane cut the deficit to nine points four times in the second half, but never got any closer. Marshall led by as many as 16 points, its largest of the game, several times in the second period. The two teams traded baskets for much of the second half, and when they were not hitting from the field, they combined for 27 free throw attempts in the final period.
The Wave's best opportunity in the second half to close the gap came early on when it trailed by nine points and Gomez had a total of four free throw opportunities on back-to-back possessions, but misfired on all four attempts. Marshall's Altidor Cespedes shut the door on any more chances when he canned a three-pointer to put his team back into double figures.
Sims finished with 13 points, while senior Donnavan Stith chalked up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Wave also lost the battle on the boards, getting out-rebounded 42-29.
"Marshall did a really good job tonight of being prepared for this game and that has to be a credit to their coaching staff," Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson said. "They had their guys prepared to play and they (Marshall players) were flying around and making great basketball plays. My team didn't respond at all at any point in the game which is very disappointing for us. We have a tough road in front of us with one of the top teams in the country coming into our place. It's tough, but Donnie (Jones) did a really good job tonight of getting his job ready to play."
Marshall's Tyler Wilkerson tied Gomez for game-high scoring honors with 15 points, while Darryl Merthie tallied 13 of his 14 points in the first period, and Tirrell Baines finished with 13 points. Wilkerson also notched a double-double 10 rebounds.
Tulane struggled during the first half in many areas. The Green Wave offense managed just nine points through the first 11:58 and shot just 36.8 percent in the first period.
Marshall, meanwhile, shot just 41.9 percent, but parlayed 13 offensive rebounds into 13 second chance points, and out-scored the Green Wave inside the paint, 20-10.
The Thundering Herd rode the backs of Merthie and Wilkerson, who led all scorers in the first half with 13 and 10 points respectively.
Merthie broke open a one-point game when he hit a put-back that sparked a 9-1 run and Markel Humphrey put the Herd up 18-9 when he drilled a three-pointer at the 9:19 mark. Gomez finally put TU into double digits with a lay-up that drew the Wave to within seven points.
However, Marshall continued an 18-5 run when Merthie drained back-to-back treys and Wilkerson's three-point play with 5:43 remaining gave the Thundering Herd a 27-12 advantage, its largest of the first half.
Tulane did managed to slice the deficit to single digits when Stith hit two free throws to culminate an 8-2 run and bring the score to 32-23 in the final minutes. But Merthie scored the five points during the final 1:43 for Marshall and the home team led 37-25 at intermission.