Coaches, seemingly as a standard, don’t buy into moral victories. But even Donnie Jones had to be encouraged by what he saw out of his Marshall basketball team Tuesday at Louisville.

“We competed at a high level tonight,” Jones said after the Herd’s 85-75 loss to the Cardinals. “If we can compete at this level night in and night out, we have a chance to do well in (Conference USA).

“We need to build on some things and get back at it to get ready for Princeton.”

Marshall (5-3) was tied 37-37 at halftime against Louisville. Senior forward Markel Humphrey and senior guard Mark Dorris shot a combined 7-of-8 from three-point range in the first half.

Louisville’s defense took over in the second half, however, and Marshall shot only 33.3 percent from the field.

The Tigers visit the Cam Henderson Center at 3 p.m. today. They enter trying to break an eight-game losing streak.

Princeton does, however, own a win over Marshall in their last meeting. The Herd (5-3) dropped a 61-45 decision at Princeton last Dec. 16.

The Tigers have struggled this season, albeit against a strong schedule. Among the teams that have beaten Princeton are Duke (83-61), Arizona State (61-42) and Penn State (61-38).

Princeton (2-8) goes with a starting lineup consisting of three sophomores and two seniors.

Sophomores Zach Finley and Lincoln Gunn lead the way. Finley, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound center, averages 11.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, both team-highs. Gunn, a 6-3 guard, averages 10.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 3.1 assists.

Rounding out the starting five are senior forwards Kyle Koncz (8.2 ppg) and Noah Savage (8.1) and sophomore guard Marcus Schroeder (5.1).

Junior guard/forward Markel Humphrey, led the Herd against Louisville with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting and 10 rebounds, averages 16.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Senior guard Mark Dorris averages 13.8 ppg and true freshman Tirrell Baines is at 13.1 and 5.9.

Junior point guard Darryl Merthie is at 7.6 ppg and 26 assists. Tyler Wilkerson, a 6-8 sophomore forward, averages 6.0 ppg and 4.6 rpg.

Today is the first of a four-game home streak for the Herd. They host Lipscomb next Saturday, Dec. 29, before closing out 2007 against San Diego on New Year’s Eve.

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