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Marshall (11-15) at UCF (17-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UCF Arena (10,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: MU 10-4, UCF 13-3. Away Record: MU 0-9, UCF 4-5. Neutral Record: MU 1-2, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: MU 4-7, UCF 7-4. Series Record: Marshall leads, 9-6.
GAME NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd hope to collect their first true road win of the season as they visit Orlando for a Conference USA bout with the UCF Knights.
This will be the second meeting between these schools this season and the final encounter as Conference USA rivals, as UCF is off to become a member of the Big East next season. Marshall clipped the Knights, 75-71, in Huntington on Feb. 2 to extend its all-time series lead to 9-6. Elijah Pittman scored 20 points to lead four Thundering Herd players in double-figures in the inaugural matchup of 2012-13, while Keith Clanton posted 24 points and nine boards to pace the Knights.
Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd suffered their third loss in four games on Saturday as they were dealt a 71-59 setback by Memphis at the Cam Henderson Center. Marshall, which was projected to be a contender for the C-USA Championship this season, has been very disappointing on its way to an 11-15 overall record. The Herd are 0-9 in true road tests with only two more remaining after their trip to Orlando. Pittman is the top scoring option for the Herd with 15.4 ppg, while DeAndre Kane contributes 14.4 points and 7.2 assists per tilt. Kane is seventh among Division I players in assists per contest and Dennis Tinnon is the third best rebounder in the C-USA with 9.2 per outing.
Marshall used the energy of the home crowd to jump out to a 10-3 lead in its bout with Memphis, but the Tigers outscored it, 40-16, the rest of the half to take a 17-point lead into halftime. The Thundering Herd charged back to cut the lead to just five points with 10:47 left, but they went 5-of-13 from the field and committed six turnovers the rest of the way. Pittman and Kane scored 16 points apiece in the loss. Tinnon registered a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Donnie Jones's Knights are coming off a two-game road swing that consisted of losses to Memphis (93-71) and Texas-El Paso (73-58). UCF's recent slide has dropped it to a 17-8 overall record with just five games remaining. The Knights are banned from postseason action this season, which gives the final stretch of the regular season a playoff like feel. Isaiah Sykes is leading the Knights with 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. Clanton is close behind in the scoring column with 15.3 ppg and is also responsible for 8.9 boards per contest.
Tristan Spurlock tallied 15 points and six rebounds for UCF on Saturday, but it was not nearly enough to help the Knights overcome their 38-22 deficit in points in the paint to UTEP. The Miners shot over 60 percent from the field in the second half, while the Knights' 3-of-18 efficiency on 3-point shooting hurt their chances. Sykes finished with only 10 points and Clanton went 1- of-10 from the field to net just four.
Marshall's chances of winning the C-USA are completely reliant on a late- season run in the tournament at this point. Jones, who used to coach the Herd, would love nothing more than to get even after losing to his former team in West Virginia. Herrion's team has been pitiful on the road to this point and there is no reason to believe it will be able to change that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 74, Marshall 66
02/20 11:05:05 ET
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