Boys Basketball: Marshall overcomes Crane
Updated: January 13, 2012 10:36PM
Milton Doyle is the kind of player every coach dreams of having. He has no fixed position. He just goes and does whatever is needed.
The 6-4 Marshall senior scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half and made a crucial block that preserved the Commandos’ narrow margin in the closing seconds host Marshall rode to the 57-54 victory over No. 15 Crane Friday.
The victory meant the Commandos (15-4, 5-0 Red-West) remain in first place in the section and are the lone unbeaten in conference play.
Doyle, a Florida International recruit, added nine rebounds, four steals, three assists and the two blocks. His most important play came with 20 seconds to play. Crane rallied from an six-point deficit to pull within 56-54 after Crane star forward Willie Conner converted four consecutive free throws with less than a minute remaining.
Off a Marshall miss, the Cougars raced down the floor for a two-on-one break. Doyle emerged from the weak side and made a spectacular block of Crane’s Courtney Thomas. Marshall recovered the loose ball and senior forward Korbin McClain split one of two free throws for the final margin.
“I was just trying to stop the basket,” Doyle said. “I’m used to playing that (forward) position and give help-side defense.”
Crane (8-4, 2-2) had a final chance to tie. Conner rose and shot a three-pointer from the left wing as time expired. The ball went halfway down and popped out of the rim. Conner’s off-balance 26-footer to close the third quarter pulled the Cougars within 44-43 after three quarters.
Conner matched Doyle by scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds and recording three steals.
Marshall struggled at the start, missing its first 10 shots as Crane raced out to a 9-0 lead. Guard Cris Craig helped the Commandos find their rhythm. He scored nine of his 11 points in the first half. He drilled a three-pointer at the second-quarter buzzer for a 31-27 Marshall advantage at the break.
“We just wanted to get back into the game with defense and play together as a team,” Doyle said.
Doyle opened the third quarter with consecutive baskets as Marshall started the half with a 9-5 burst. Crane refused to wilt. Thomas and Christopher Daily scored eight points apiece for the Cougars.
Junior guard Derrick Miles added 10 points for the Commandos.