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Johnson, Marshall open with 79-63 win

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Shaquille Johnson tied his career high with 22 points to lead Marshall University past North Carolina A&T 79-63 in the men’s basketball opener for both schools Sunday at the Cam Henderson Center.

Johnson previously scored 22 points against Tulane Feb. 7, 2009. The 6-4 sophomore guard scored 11 of the first 18 points of the game for the Thundering Herd.

A halftime three-point buzzer beater by Aggies forward Robert Johnson made it 38-33 heading into the break.

North Carolina A&T scored the first four points of the second half to make it a two-point ball game with a little under 19 minutes to play.

The Marshall lead fluctuated between three and seven points over the next five minutes before a Cam Miller three-pointer at the 13:20 mark created a 55-45 MU advantage.

The Aggies would come as close as nine with 11:51 to go, but that would be as close as they would get.

An 8-0 Thundering Herd run capped off by another Miller three-pointer gave Marshall an 18-point advantage.

Marshall lead by as many as 21 in the second half. The Thundering Herd held North Carolina A&T to only one three-point field goal in the second half (1-11) and limited the Aggies to 31.1 percent shooting for the game (19-61).

Led by senior Tyler Wilkerson who grabbed a career high 20 rebounds, Marshall outrebounded North Carolina A&T 50-39. Wilkerson’s 20 rebounds are the most in a game for a MU player since Jan. 18, 1986 when Rodney Holden pulled down 20 against The Citadel.

Herd point guard Darryl Merthie scored 14 points, posted nine rebounds and added a game-high seven assists.

Hassan Whiteside added 10 points and blocked five shots coming off the bench. Whiteside’s five blocks are the most in a game by a Marshall player since Jean-Francis Bro Grebe had five against Tulane Feb. 17, 2007.