The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

March 8, 2013

Marshall closes regular season today at ECU

BECKLEY — Win or lose tonight, East Carolina has locked up the fourth seed — and, thus, a first-round bye — in the upcoming Conference USA Tournament.

Exactly the type of position Marshall was expected to be in when the season began.

Instead, the Thundering Herd finds itself in the middle of the pack thanks to what has been a largely disappointing season.

Today’s 5 p.m. finale at ECU will leave Marshall (13-17, 6-9) anywhere from the seventh seed to No. 10.

Marshall is at least coming off an encouraging 88-84 win over Southern Miss. The victory let the Herd avenge a 104-76 whipping at the hands of the Golden Eagles in January.

In the Pirates (17-11, 8-7), the Herd is facing a team it defeated 77-56 Jan. 19 in Huntington. But Marshall has won just once in 11 road games this season.

The win over Southern Miss was on Marshall’s Senior Night, which will be the occasion tonight for ECU’s Shamarr Bowden, Maurice Kemp, Miguel Paul and Erin Straughn. Kemp leads the conference in scoring with 18.4 points per game, while Paul is in a battle with Marshall’s DeAndre Kane for the conference assist title. Kane leads at 6.9 assists per game (10th in the NCAA) and Paul is second at 6.7 (11th).

Marshall leads the conference in offensive rebounds per game (14.4) and is second in rebounding overall (38.2). East Carolina is second in the league in scoring at 76.9 points per game while recording a  conference-best 17.3 assists per game.

Marshall is led in scoring by junior forward Elijah Pittman, who is averaging 16.1 points per game, the best of any conference newcomer and seventh overall in C-USA. He has recorded at least 20 points in six of his last nine games, including 22 against the Golden Eagles.

Kane is 11th in C-USA with 14.7 points per game.

Official seedings for the C-USA Tournament will be released Sunday.

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