It doesn’t take long for a game to get blown wide open.
For the Marshall boys’ basketball team, a 90-second stretch midway through the second half did the trick against Oregon on Tuesday night.
Hanging on to a one point, 36-35 lead with 10 minutes to play, the Cardinals were in need of a spark.
Marshall had led for much of the night, including by as many as seven points in the first half. Their 28-23 halftime lead had been dwindling as the second half progressed, however, and the Cardinals were in danger of falling behind as the game moved into crunch time.
Marshall’s outside shooting provided the spark they needed. Craig Ward started by draining a three-pointer to extend the lead to four points, followed 30 seconds later by another three from Cole Denniston. Another basket by Ward led to a steal and bucket from Tyler Chadwick to punctuate the run, putting Marshall firmly in the driver’s seat just 90 seconds after their lead was in jeopardy.
“We started to make some shots…” said Marshall’s Head Coach Dan Denniston. “We really dug in on the defensive end, too; we made them work for absolutely everything they got.”
With the scoreboard now showing 46-35 in favor of the Cardinals, their defense went to work. Oregon’s offense was stuck in neutral for nearly the entire rest of the game; the Panthers went nearly nine minutes without making a shot from the field, and Marshall’s run kept getting bigger and bigger.
By the time Oregon finally hit a field goal – with 1:39 left to play – the Cardinals had ripped off a 19-1 run to seal the win; up 55-36, Marshall’s bench cleared. Oregon remained aggressive, scoring the game’s final eight points, but the Cardinal lead was too much to mount a comeback.
When the clock hit zero, Marshall emerged with their fourth consecutive victory, winning 55-44.
The Cardinals were effective from beyond the arc all night; four of their first five shots were threes, opening up the offense significantly.
“Big time,” Dan Denniston said of the effect Marshall’s outside shots falling has on their offense. “They’ve got to extend out to your shooters, which allows your post players a little bit more room to work on the inside… Tyler did a nice job in the second half; we were able to feed him the ball a few times in the post.”
Ward led the Cardinals with 20 points, followed by Chadwick with 19. Cole Denniston tacked on nine on a trio of threes, while Reid Truschinski rounded out the scoring with seven points.
The Cardinals will hit the road for their next game against the Lodi Blue Devils. Tip time on Friday at Lodi High School is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.