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Memphis abruptly ends Herd season, 92-71

MEMPHIS, TN — Marshall’s basketball season is over. The next question: Is Ron Jirsa’s career at Marshall over?

The Thundering Herd finished 13-19 after a 92-71 rout at the hands of No. 5-ranked Memphis Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament. The loss left the status of Jirsa’s tenure at Marshall up in the air.

Jirsa sidestepped the question of his status after the game, preferring to talk about the matter at hand.

“They’re a super team and they played hard,” Jirsa said of Memphis. “They forced us into turnovers early. The points off turnover were the big key.”

The Tigers had 28 points off turnovers as Marshall was guilty of 22 turnovers for the game. The Herd had just 12 points off turnovers.

Memphis (28-3) was hit with foul trouble in the first half, but Jeremy Hunt and Doneal Mack came off the bench to combine for 30 points to give the Tigers a 52-31 lead.

“I really like our first half and our post entry and our extra passing,” Memphis coach John Calipari said. “This is good one to get under our belts. The hardest one is the first one. When the other team has a win under their belts, and they are feeling it, they don’t go away.”

The Herd managed to make a run early in the second half and close the gap to 57-44 on a 3-pointer by Markel Humphrey with 15:43 on the clock.

But Marshall never got closer than 15 points the rest of the game as both teams scored 40 points after the break.

“We battled in the second half. Our team will battle. Our team will fight, but we weren’t able to close it to a reasonable margin,” Jirsa said. “They’re just a super team and they’re going to go a long way.”

Hunt and Mack finished with 19 points each to lead five players in double figures. Joey Dorsey had 14 points and 11 rebounds while Chris Douglas-Roberts had 11 points and Robert Dozier 10.

Mark Dorris led Marshall with a game-high 21 points and Humphrey score 14.