Marshall sloppy in loss to No. 11 Cincinnati

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — 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.”