East Carolina puts forth lackluster effort in loss to Marshall

Published 6:16 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — East Carolina’s pursuit of a winning record took a major step backward Wednesday night as the Pirates turned in one of their worst efforts all season in a 76-62 loss to Marshall.
Heading into the game East Carolina (13-14, 5-9) needed to win two of its final three games to head into the Conference USA tournament above .500. With two tough games to close out the schedule, a win against the Thundering Herd (13-15, 5-8) was imperative.
Inexplicably, the Pirates slumped out of the gate falling behind 12-0 in the first five minutes and never recovered.
Though ECU can still get to the 15-win mark, the climb towards a winning record only gets steeper as it faces a tough UAB team that is second only to No. 4 Memphis in the Conference USA standings. ECU then hits the road to take on a solid UCF team that will be looking to avenge an early season loss to the Pirates.
The odds are certainly stacked against them, and after the game the Pirates were perplexed by their performance.
Credit Wynn for manning up and placing the blame where it belongs — on the team. However, it still doesn’t make up for a lack of defensive presence by the Pirates, and a lifeless offensive attack.
Wynn led ECU in scoring with 16 points, while fellow big man Darrius Morrow recorded 15 points and seven rebounds.
Though their offensive numbers were more than respectable, the same can not be said about their effort on the other end where they allowed Marshall forward Markel Humphrey to net a game-high 24 points in rather easy fashion.
The Thundering Herd shot 49 percent from the floor for the game, and dished out 18 assists while only turning the ball over five times.
The Pirates shot 44 percent from the floor, handed out 12 assists, but turned the ball over 10 times.
Hinnant was held under 10 points for the first time all season, as he finished with six, while the Pirates’ potent three-point attack was nowhere to be found.
With Marshall center/forward Tyler Wilkerson out, ECU tried to pound the ball inside for most of the game. Working the ball in the paint was met with mixed success as the Herd did a good job of doubling the ECU post players before they could put the ball on the floor.
Marshall also did a good job of quieting the Pirates sharpshooters, limiting them to only four three-pointers.
ECU will look to bounce back on Saturday when it hosts UAB on Senior Night at 7 p.m.
MARSHALL (13-15)
Humphrey 8-14 6-6 24, Pitts 3-7 2-3 8, Lutz 4-7 4-4 15, Johnson 5-8 1-2 12, Williams 1-3 0-0 2, Merthie 1-7 0-0 3, Spann 0-1 0-0 0, Baines 6-10 0-0 12, White 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-57 13-15 76.
Morrow 6-9 3-5 15, Wynn 6-8 4-4 16, Legan 2-9 6-9 10, Hinnant 2-6 1-1 6, Young 0-4 1-2 1, Turner 1-4 0-0 2, Abrams 2-2 3-5 9, Sherrod 1-3 0-0 3, O’Bryan 0-0 0-0 0, Sargent 0-0 0-0 0, Steele 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-45 18-26 62.
Halftime—Marshall 39-28. 3-Point Goals—Marshall 7-20 (Lutz 3-5, Humphrey 2-4, Johnson 1-2, Merthie 1-5, Spann 0-1, Pitts 0-3), East Carolina 4-12 (Abrams 2-2, Sherrod 1-1, Hinnant 1-4, Turner 0-1, Young 0-1, Legan 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Marshall 31 (Humphrey 8), East Carolina 29 (Morrow 7). Assists—Marshall 18 (Merthie 5), East Carolina 12 (Young 4). Total Fouls—Marshall 23, East Carolina 16. A—4,685.