Thundering Herd Snaps Skid, Upends UTEP

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall Received Balanced Production with four Scorers in Double Figures Saturday, and the Thundering Herd ITS Losing streak ended with a 78-71 Conference USA Men's Basketball victory over UTEP before a Crowd of 5,302 at the Henderson Center.


The Herd (5-15, 1-6) snapped a 15-game skid against Division I teams and a nine-game losing streak overall, as junior guard Justin Edmonds scored a career- and game-high 20 points, hitting 5-of -9 from three-point range - including 4-of-6 in the first half.


Edmonds had plenty of support against the Miners (12-7, 4-3), who came into the game with an RPI ranking of 77 and had beaten Marshall in nine of the previous 10 meetings since the two teams joined C-USA in 2005 -06.


The 77 points were the most allowed this season by UTEP, which came into the game allowing only 62.2 per game.


Sophomore Ryan Taylor scored 10 of the final 11 points for the Herd, and his driving hoop gave Marshall the lead for good at 69-68 after UTEP had erased a 10-point Herd lead Taylor finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds -. His seventh double-double of the season and 14th in his two Marshall seasons.


JP Kambola made only his third start of the season for Marshall, and the senior center played big with 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 26 minutes. And freshman point guard Aleksa Nikolic produced 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.


"I thought the biggest news for the team and the city was the crowd, for a team that is now 5-15," Herd coach Dan D'Antoni said. "The city coming out and staying with these young men, who have been running into loss after loss and working to find the Ws.

"This was a really big reward for them and I'm happy. They deserve it. They have prepared themselves to win this game through a lot of snowy weather. I'm looking forward to the next time we get on the floor, which is tomorrow morning. It will be a little more fun and we will prep for the next games on the schedule. "

The Herd emerged from a 42-39 halftime lead - built mostly on eight 3-pointers - to gain a 57-46 advantage five minutes into the second half The Herd lead was still 60-50 with 12:30 left when the Miners began. to chip away, and they eventually went on top 66-65 with 5:53 left.


It was 68-67 UTEP when Taylor began his personal run of 10 straight points - including two one-and-one bonus opportunities he completed - and UTEP went nearly five minutes without scoring.


Marshall shot 40.6 percent, had a 41-37 rebounding edge and committed only 10 turnovers. The Herd also made 10 steals.


"Marshall played harder and played smarter," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "No excuses. Our kids played spirited, played hard and we had opportunities. We just did not take advantage of them ... Edmonds was absolutely outstanding."


UTEP was led by freshman point guard Omega Harris, who scored 12 of his career-high 18 points in the second half. Big man Matt Willms came off the bench for 12 points for the Miners. UTEP center Cedric Lang had 11 points, all in the first half.


The Herd now hits the road for a two-game C-USA trip to Southern Miss on Thursday night and Louisiana Tech on Saturday before returning to the Henderson Center for three straight conference games against Rice, North Texas and Western Kentucky (Feb. 5, 7 and 14).

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