GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane look to make it three in a row as they visit the Cam Henderson Center for a Conference USA tilt against the Marshall Thundering Herd.
Danny Manning's Golden Hurricane clipped SMU by a point in Dallas on Sunday for their second straight victory. Tulsa is now 9-6 overall and an even 3-3 in away games. The Golden Hurricane are sub par on the offensive end with a 65.9 points per game average, but they rank fourth in the C-USA in scoring defense (63.3 ppg).
Marshall took a nosedive to close out its non-conference slate as it lost four of its last five games, including a lopsided 94-57 setback to Ohio in Athens on Saturday. The positive news that came out of the non-conference finale was star guard DeAndre Kane returned from a hand injury that kept him out for four games. His return is greatly needed as the Thundering Herd's three-game losing slide dropped it below the .500 mark.
Tulsa owns an 8-5 all-time series lead in its rivalry with Marshall. The Golden Hurricane won last season's regular season encounter, 79-70, at home before the Thundering Herd exacted their revenge with a 105-100 victory in a triple overtime thriller in the C-USA Tournament.
The odds were stacked against Tulsa as it trailed by two points with seconds winding down in regulation, but Pat Swilling Jr. came up in the clutch by drilling a go-ahead 3-pointer with four seconds left. SMU missed a shot at the buzzer which gave the Golden Hurricane a 48-47 decision. Swilling finished with a game-high 18 points, while Scottie Haralson added 10 points and nine boards. James Woodard is netting team-bests of 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. Swilling is wasting no time getting into the mix. The junior college transfer is posting 10.9 ppg in eight games since his arrival.
Kane was unable to do much to help Marshall avoid its 37-point beat down courtesy of the Bobcats at the Convocation Center. The Preseason All- Conference USA selection went just 3-of-10 from the field for 10 points before fouling out in 20 minutes. Herrion hopes Kane can shake off the cobwebs to return to his averages of 14.2 points and 7.9 assists. The Thundering Herd managed to hold a dominant 43-27 edge on the glass, but their poor defense let Ohio hit 65.3 percent of its field goal tries, including 11-of-23 from 3-point range. Elijah Pittman (14.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and Dennis Tinnon (10.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg) provide MU with one of the toughest front lines in the league and D.D. Scarver is chipping in 14.1 points per outing from the backcourt.
Marshall will need Kane to return to full form before it will end its losing streak. Without one of its top scorers, MU is going to struggle due to its inability to defend. Tulsa has a few nice pieces in Haralson and Swilling, but it may have run into the Herd just one game too late.