March 5, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Senior David Gomez led four Tulane players in double figures with 14 points, but it was not enough as Marshall erased a 15-point deficit in the second-half and Mark Dorris hit the game-winner on a jumper with 1.6 seconds remaining to give the Thundering Herd a 70-68 victory over the Green Wave in front of 1,806 at Fogelman Arena.
With Marshall leading by two points in the waning seconds, the Herd turned the ball over and Gomez finished a fast break with a dunk to tie the game at 68 all with 25 seconds remaining. Gomez, who was fouled on the play, missed the free throw attempt that would have given TU a one-point lead.
Marshall then called timeout and Dorris delivered the deciding basket on a drive from the left side and a last second heave by sophomore Kevin Sims narrowly missed going in when it bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.
Tulane dropped to 15-14 overall and 5-10 in Conference USA with the loss, while Marshall improved to 16-12 and 8-7 in league action.
"This time of the year, we just have to win a game like this because there are no excuses despite the foul trouble," Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson said. "Our guys were just a different team in the second half. We didn't play well with the lead and Marshall just hung in there and made play after play, and their top three players played great tonight. This is a very difficult loss for us."
Tulane ended the first half with an 8-0 run and Sims drained a three-pointer to begin the second period and TU's run was suddenly an 11-0 spurt with the Green Wave leading by 10 points, 38-28. Minutes later, junior Robinson Louisme added to the run when he was fouled on a lay-up and went to the line and converted two free throws into a 13-0 run to extend the lead to 40-28.
The game became very interesting at the 17:10 minute mark when Marshall head coach Donnie Jones received a pair of technical fouls following a Herd foul and was promptly ejected. With Jones out of the game, the head coaching duties ironically were turned over to former Tulane head coach Shawn Finney (2000-05), who is now an assistant coach on the Thundering Herd's staff. Sims made Marshall pay for the technical when he sank three of four foul shots to push the Tulane lead to 15 points, 43-28.
The Herd scored its first points of the second half and snapped a scoreless run of nearly seven minutes, which included the final 3:27 of the first half, when Tirrell Baines knocked down one of two free throws. Marshall then reeled off a 10-2 run to cut the lead to single digits, 45-38.
Tulane mounted a 9-4 run that culminated in a three-pointer by sophomore Eric Vianney, and the Green Wave led 54-42 with 11:42 remaining. Marshall cut the lead to 10 points on a pair of free throws from Tyler Wilkerson, but freshman Kris Richard nailed a clutch three-pointer to give the Wave a 59-46 advantage near the midway point.
Dorris then broke loose with three straight baskets, including a three-pointer, for his own 7-0 run that pulled the visitors to within seven points, 59-53, at the 8:10 mark. Following a TU turnover, Markel Humphrey was fouled on a fast break and he went to the line and sank two free throws to add the run and the Green Wave's lead was trimmed to four points.
Tulane once again came up empty on its ensuing possession and Baines added to the 11-0 run with a lay-up to cut the lead to two points. Sims finally answered for the Wave with a pair of free throws that gave the home team a four-point advantage. Sims then came up with a steal and TU finished the play with a trey from senior Matt Wheaton that gave Tulane a little breathing room with a seven point lead.
Marshall once again made a charge at the Green Wave lead when Baines converted a three-point play and then Dorris followed with a three-point on the Herd's next possession to cut the deficit to one point, 65-64.
Dorris, who had just two points in the first half, gave Marshall its first lead since late in the first half with a driving lay-up with under three minutes remaining. Tulane then misfired on a free throw attempt and a field goal try and the Thundering Herd took advantage with a Baines jumper that put Marshall up three points with 1:40 to play.
Senior Donnavan Stith hit one of two free throws to bring the Wave to within two points with over a minute remaining. However the charity stripe would once again proved to be an Achilles heel for the Green Wave as Tulane misfired on four free throws during the final three minutes.
Gomez scored 12 points in the first half, but managed just two points in the second half. Sims contributed 13 points and three steals, while Louisme and Vianney finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Tulane shot 54.2 percent in the second half, but could muster just a 34.5 percent effort in the second period. The Green Wave out-rebounded the Herd, 33-29.
Humphrey and Baines led all scorers with 20 points apiece, while Dorris added 14 of his 16 in the second half, and Wilkerson chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Thundering Herd overcame a 35.7 percent shooting performance in the first half with a blistering 65 percent outing in the final period.
The first 10 minutes of the opening period was a back-and-forth slugfest with the teams trading baskets frequently and neither squad was able to gain a significant lead.
Marshall scored the first basket of the game, but Tulane responded with six straight points to build an early four-point advantage. The Thundering Herd then answered with seven straight points and jumped out a three-point lead, but the Green Wave tied the contest on a conventional three-point play from Gomez. From there the game was tied five times and had three lead changes through the midway point.
Tulane was able to shoot out to a five-point lead courtesy of a timely three-pointer from Richard. Vianney then hauled in a long pass from Richard on a break and finished with lay-up to give the Wave a 23-18 lead with under nine minutes remaining.
TU was able to maintain a brief advantage for the next three minutes until Humphrey converted a three-point play at 5:30 to put Marshall up by a point, 24-23.
Tulane quickly rallied behind a pair of free throws from Gomez and a dunk from Stith to take a three-point lead. Dorris followed with a pair of free throws following a TU foul and the Herd trailed by a single point at the 4:20 mark.
Baines regained the lead for Marshall with a pair of free throws almost a minute later, but Vianney answered with a trey to push the home team back out to a 30-28 lead with under three minutes to play. Gomez then tacked on a pair of charity shots with 1:13 remaining in the half to extend the Wave's lead out to four points, 32-28.
Tulane then turned back three Marshall possessions in final minutes and Gomez was able to complete his second three-point play of the half and hand the Green Wave a 35-28 lead at intermission.