Herd uses 2nd half to rally past NKU
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall shot 56 percent from the field in the second half to pull away in a 65-55 win over Northern Kentucky Tuesday in the Herd’s only exhibition game of the season.
Marshall trailed 32-27 at halftime, as NKU shot 41.4 percent from the field in the first half. However, the Herd outscored the Norse 38-23 in the second half to the delight of an impressive crowd of 6,070 at The Cam Henderson Center.
“Our crowd was tremendous,” said MU head coach Tom Herrion. “I thank our great fans, it was unbelievable. I really appreciate that.”
Junior forward Dennis Tinnon recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, six offensive. He was efficient from the floor going 4-for-6 and hitting 3-of-4 free throws.
Senior guard Shaquille Johnson led MU with 16 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists. He scored over half of his points at the free throw line shooting 7-of-8.
Freshman Justin Coleman and senior guard Dago Pena also scored in double figures. Coleman 12 of his 16 points in the second half and was 3-for-6 from three-point range. Pena scored 10 points and brought down five rebounds.
Early on in the game, NKU’s stingy defense helped the Norse jump out to a 21-10 lead with 9:19 to play in the first half. From then, Marshall closed the half with a 17-11 run and trailed 32-27 at halftime.
“Northern Kentucky came out and played terrific,” Herrion said of the NCAA Division II program. “They hit a few three’s early. That’s a well-coached team that plays way different than anything we practice against.”
In the first half, 13 of the Herd’s 25 shot attempts were from three-point range and hit just 15.4 percent (2-for-13) from beyond the arc. NKU shot often and accurate in the first half as it hit 7-of-19 shots from three-point range.
Justin Coleman brought the score even in the second half as the freshman guard slammed home a reverse dunk on the Herd’s first possession. Less than a minute later, Coleman drained a three-pointer to tie the score 32-32.
“I thought Justin gave us a great jolt in the second half,” Herrion said. “We were able to get him loose and he’s obviously showing some of his talents. He shot the ball very well and was active in our pressure (defense).”
Marshall scored 16 unanswered points and led 41-32 until NKU’s Tony Rack hit a three-pointer at the 14:23 mark to end the Norse drought. NKU went nearly six minutes without scoring.
After another dunk by Coleman, Marshall had its largest lead of the night, 17, with 9:41 remaining. The Norse went on a 10-2 run and trailed 54-45 with 4:35 remaining, but that was as close as they would get.
The Herd shot better and played better overall in the second half and for the game, Marshall outrebounded NKU 48-30.
NKU forward Jon Van Hoose led all players with 17 points. Center DeAndre Nealy scored 12 for the Norse who will continue to their next exhibition game at West Virginia on Friday.
“We are totally a work in progress,” Herrion said. “There are many things that we need to get better at. I dressed 10 guys tonight and of the 10, eight did not play (NCAA) Division I ball last year. We played the guys we had, they did a good job and we got a great lift in the second half. The most important thing is it was great experience for our new guys.”
Marshall will begin the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. as the Herd hosts Southwestern Athletic Conference favorite Alabama State.