The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 8, 2012

Marshall coach not discouraged after loss to Mountaineers

Thundering Herd to host Coppin State tonight

By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor

— Tom Herrion said he was disappointed, but certainly did not sound discouraged after Marshall’s 69-59 loss to West Virginia on Wednesday.

To a large extent, the Thundering Herd were their own worst enemies in the annual in-state clash. Marshall (5-4) was outrebounded 43-35, shot less than 37 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from the free-throw line and committed 17 turnovers, 13 in the first half.

As Marshall prepares to host Coppin State at 7 p.m. today, none of those numbers has Herrion panicking or worried that they will become a trend.

“That’s a lack of consistency by us in what was obviously a very physical game,” he said. “We’ll get better from this game. We will move forward. It’s (only) Dec. 5. I’m just disappointed. I’m not sure if West Virginia beat us tonight. We contributed mightily to the loss. And I don’t mean that with any disrespect to them.”

The game took an ugly turn with only 1:37 remaining when a flagrant-2 foul by Herd forward Robert Goff led to his ejection and, eventually, the ejections of four West Virginia players. Goff, per Conference USA rules, is suspended for tonight’s game.

Herrion was encouraged by other aspects of the game, and seemed convinced that others will be cleaned up in time for the Herd to contend for a conference title.

“The kids played hard,” Herrion said. “Thirty-seven percent field-goal percentage defense. You get outscored from the foul line. They shot the heck out of it from the foul line and we didn’t (WVU was 24 of 30, Marshall 12 of 22). Our half-court defense was pretty good, minus putting them on the foul line and us not equaling it out and converting our free throws.”

Herrion also is confident that turnovers will not be an issue down the road.

“We got shook. We knew they were going to pressure us,” Herrion said. “We turned it over every which way possible. We talked about playing low, playing strong with the ball, but we got shook and sped up. It was clearly a bad way to go through that stretch near the end of the first half (when WVU went on a 12-1 run to go ahead 31-25). We had a lot of guys contribute to it.”

Marshall now turns its attention to Coppin State (1-7). Junior forward Michael Murray leads the Eagles with 12.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Patrick Cole averages a team-high 13.3 points, while senior guard Troy Franklin averages 11.9 and has 20 steals.

Coppin State lost 87-51 at top-ranked Indiana last Saturday.

— E-mail: gfauber@register-herald.com