Marshall sloppy in 72-56 loss to No. 11 Cincinnati

Turning the ball over 20 times led to a lot of head scratching
for Marshall coach Tom Herrion.

Marshall’s miscues led to No. 11 Cincinnati turning a close game
into a 72-56 rout over the Thundering Herd on Saturday.

Marshall (6-5) was bothered from the start by Cincinnati’s
pressure, committing eight turnovers in the first eight minutes and
12 in the first half.

”We contributed mightily to this defeat today,” Herrion said.
”We knew they’d come after us, but we played so rattled early. We
turned it over a lot of ways and 20 is a bad number that usually
leads to failure and negative play.”

Marshall was missing leading scorer DeAndre Kane, who is out
indefinitely with a right hand injury.

”Cincinnati is not going to care who we dress,” Herrion
said.

D.D. Scarver and Elijah Pittman picked up the scoring load in
Kane’s absence, finishing with 20 points apiece.

Cashmere Wright led Cincinnati with 14 points, including three
3-pointers during a key second-half run as the Bearcats improved to
10-0 for the second time in three seasons and the 10th time in
school history.

The Bearcats shot 61.5 percent after halftime after struggling
early.

They put the game away without leaning on leading scorer Sean
Kilpatrick, who tied a season low with 13 points, seven below his
average. The junior finished 5 of 15 from the floor, including a
1-for-7 effort before halftime.

”Ugliest first half of my life,” Kilpatrick said. ”But I was
able to get in the second half and make shots for my team, rebound
the ball and (play) defense. That’s something we preach about every
day. Defense wins games on the road.”

Justin Jackson added 10 for the Bearcats.

Cincinnati broke open a tight game with a 13-4 run midway
through the second half.

Marshall’s Tamron Manning was called for an intentional foul to
keep Shaquille Thomas from scoring on a fast break. Thomas made
both free throws, Cincinnati got the ball back and Wright made
three 3-pointers over the next 1:37 to give the Bearcats a 52-39
lead with 11:44 remaining.

Wright, who set a career high with six 3s in Cincinnati’s 92-60
win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 8, had four against
Marshall.

”He’s a rhythm guy,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. ”Once
he got his first shot to go down that can change a lot of things
for him. I’d like to see him start the game the way he started the
second half. He’s a great shooter for a point guard.”

Scarver made a foul shot and hit a 3-pointer after missing the
second free throw to give Marshall a brief spark, but Kilpatrick
put the Bearcats ahead by double digits for good with a 3-pointer
with 7:55 left.

Cronin had plenty to say about Saturday’s announcement that the
seven Big East schools that don’t play FBS football leaving the
conference.

”I don’t blame them,” he said. ”My take is it’s a shame that
football, one sport, has dictated all this. The money that one
sport is swinging around is swaying universities to make decisions.
Don’t tell me that people care about student-athletes.

”It’s all ridiculous. Let’s call it what it is. I’ve thought
about this long and hard and I’ve waited to say this. If it’s all
about money and money grabbing, the players need to get paid.”

Marshall made just 14 of 27 free throws and was outmuscled in
the paint where it was outscored 40-16. The Thundering Herd shot
39.5 percent (17 of 43) from the floor.

”Their pressure didn’t allow us to get into any flow,” Herrion
said.

An early screaming from Cronin was all Cincinnati needed to turn
around a slow start.

During a timeout, Cronin cussed and finger pointed in the huddle
at his starting lineup, especially Kilpatrick, after Marshall hit
three open 3-pointers, including two by Scarver.

Cincinnati responded with three baskets in a minute and never
lost the lead again.

The Bearcats return home for their next three games, including a
matchup Wednesday with cross-town rival Xavier. Last year’s loss at
Xavier is remembered for a brawl that resulted in four players from
each team getting suspensions.

”The past is the past,” Kilpatrick said. ”It will be a great
game.”