Saturday, February 16, 2013 10:32 pm
Thomas leads No. 22 Memphis over Marshall 71-59
By JOHN RABYAP Sports Writer
Joe Jackson added 12 points and Geron Johnson had 11 for the Tigers (22-3, 11-0 Conference USA), who improved to 7-0 in road games with the help of their reserves. The Memphis bench outscored their Marshall counterparts 19-6.
Elijah Pittman and DeAndre Kane scored 16 points apiece for Marshall (11-15, 4-7). Dennis Tinnon added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Thundering Herd, who committed 20 turnovers and lost for the sixth time in eight games.
Thomas, whose previous career best was 19 points - reached on three occasions - had 15 in the opening half but fell silent after halftime along with his teammates. Memphis built a 17-point halftime lead then made just one field goal over the first eight minutes of the second half.
Despite its own scoring struggles, Marshall crept closer behind a burst of baskets from Tinnon and Pittman. Pittman's free throw brought the Thundering Herd within 46-41 with 10:44 remaining.
Then Memphis finally emerged from its slumber. Johnson scored off a rebound then made a 3-pointer to finish a 10-2 run for a 56-43 lead with 8:21 left.
Marshall, playing a ranked opponent at home for the first time in three seasons, got no closer than eight the rest of the game.
Earlier this season, the Tigers held off Marshall 73-72 in Memphis, but the Thundering Herd struggled on offense this time.
Marshall led by as many as seven early on then went scoreless over a stretch of six minutes. Thomas hit a pair of 3-pointers during an 11-0 run as Memphis surged ahead 27-15 before stretching it to 43-26 at halftime.