By Matthew Snyder
The Marshall boys basketball team kept up with visiting Fremont of Oakland for a half on Tuesday night, but the Phoenix simply couldn’t rein in sweet-shooting Tigers guards Tyrone Gains and Donnell Wheat.
The two juniors combined for 30 first-half points on 10-of-11 shooting – including eight three-pointers – and laid the groundwork for a 92-75 Fremont victory.
“[Fremont] came out, and they shot the three very, very well,” said Marshall head coach Dezebee Miles. “I felt that we defended to the best of our ability.”
The Phoenix (1-2) shifted between zone defenses against the undersized Tigers to start the game, but Fremont (5-4) head coach Scot Alexander quickly tinkered his offensive sets to take advantage of Marshall’s aggressive schemes.
The Phoenix cut the Fremont lead to 25-21 with a 7-2 run early in the second quarter, but then Gains took over.
The junior guard poured in 10 points during the second quarter, frequently using screens to slip his defender, and didn’t miss a shot in the first half.
The Phoenix weathered Gains’ onslaught with balanced scoring. Four different players combined for Marshall’s 20 points in that second quarter and junior shooting guard Mizell Parker cut the lead to 48-35 with a fadeaway jump shot at the halftime buzzer.
But a timing mishap during the break canceled out that momentum.
Marshall was several minutes late coming out of the locker room for the beginning of the third quarter, which resulted in a surreal sequence.
Fremont’s five players took the court and the officials resumed play, which allowed the Tigers to score four quick points (there was a phantom 5-second inbound violation in between the baskets) before the Phoenix, who were alerted to the development, burst through the gym’s doors and raced back onto the floor.
The officials then called a resumption-of-play technical foul against Marshall, citing the team’s failure to return on time. Gevon Woodson-Wheeler’s free throw pushed Fremont’s lead to 53-35 and the Tigers blitzed the Phoenix through the rest of the quarter to blow the game open at 74-51.
“I’ve never seen that before . . . well, actually I’ve been on the court when it’s happened – where we took too long for a timeout – but I never saw that in a halftime situation,” Alexander said. “I thought that was a little bit strange, but I’m gonna take the points.”
Marshall’s 6-foot-5 forward Albert Collins finished with a game-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting and also added seven rebounds. The Phoenix shot just under 52 percent from the field, but committed 19 turnovers.
Donnell Wheat – 24
Tyrone Gains – 20
Darnell Waters – 17
Malik Chandler – 10
Javonte Long – 9
Albert Collins – 28
Mizell Parker – 22
Jason Smith – 14
Aumen Holliday – 7
Two players tied with 2 points