EL PASO, Texas -- Damier Pitts scored 28 points and DeAndre Kane added 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Marshall to a 97-87 victory against Houston in the first round of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday night.
The sixth-seeded Thundering Herd (22-10) advance to a quarterfinal contest against No. 3 seed UTEP on Thursday.Zamal Nixon had 21 points and Maurice McNeil added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the 11th-seeded Cougars (12-18).A 3-point barrage fueled an 18-2 Marshall run over a 5:09 stretch in the second half. Dago Pena scored all nine of his points on three consecutive shots behind the arc, and Johnny Thomas and Kane added one apiece. Pitts made three free throws during the surge, with the last giving the Herd an 80-64 cushion with 3:24 remaining.Thomas had 17 points and Tirell Baines 11 for Marshall.Alandise Harris scored 14 points and Darian Thibodeaux and Kirk Van Slyke 10 each for Houston, last year's C-USA tournament champion.