Herd Missteps at Middle Tennessee, 90-51

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Senior center JP Kambola (Toronto, Ontario) went 4-of-4 from the field and 3-of-3 from the free throw line for a team-high 12 points, but Marshall men’s basketball (9-17, 5-8) fell hard at Middle Tennessee (14-13, 7-7), 90-51, on a frosty Thursday evening at Murphy Center.

Despite the season-worst 39-point margin, the loss was just the second in the Herd’s last seven games. Additionally, the Blue Raiders halted a three-game Marshall win streak.

After going down by as many as five in the first two minutes (8-3, 18:40), the Herd tied it at 8-8 after an Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) triple at 15:07. Two quick Marshall turnovers turned into four MT points, going down 12-8. The Herd responded with five straight points, including Loop’s second trey, for its first lead, 13-12, at 12:46.

Middle Tennessee turned up the volume at the mid-point of the first half when it went on a 10-0 run and held Marshall scoreless until 7:08 whenJustin Edmonds (Albion, Mich.) drove in for a layup to make it 22-15. The Blue Raiders gained their largest lead of the half (12) at 3:22, up 31-19. The Herd battled back in the final three minutes to pull within eight, down 34-26 at the break.

Marshall tried to muster a comeback with a 6-2 run to start the second half, cutting the deficit to four at 17:20 (36-32). From that point, everything went south. A 16-0 MT run, which included three consecutive 3-pointers over 4:24, put the Blue Raiders up by 20 (52-32). A Jay Johnson (Versailles, Ky.) long ball stopped the run at 11:57. However, Middle Tennessee found another hot streak, this time 17-0, to go up 73-37. Tamron Manning(Georgetown, Ky.) cut the run with a layup at 5:22. Things snowballed even more over the next two minutes with a 13-0 Blue Raider run, giving MT a largest lead of 47 with 3:40 to play (83-39). The Herd ended the game on a 12-7 advantage, and the whistle blew with the Blue Raiders taking away a 90-51 win.

The Herd’s 51 points tied its season low with the 72-51 loss versus Old Dominion (Jan. 8). Middle Tennessee shot 52.2 percent (35-of-67) from the field to Marshall’s 33.3 percent (18-of-54), and made a staggering 14 threes, including a career-high eight by freshman Giddy Potts. Potts led the Blue Raiders with 28 points on 10-of-14, 8-of-11 from long range.

Redshirt sophomore Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) was the only Herd player besides Kambola to reach double-figure scoring with 10, and his seven-game streak of double-doubles ended as he finished with a team-high five rebounds.

Quotes from coach Dan D’Antoni:
On what went wrong for the Herd:
“It really started in the first half. We were only eight points down and we had under 40-percent shooting. We didn’t have the energy. The only reason they were eight points ahead was that we didn’t match the energy. We weren’t executing what we do offensively. We were hanging in there defensively but we weren’t executing offensively.”

On learning from the loss and moving forward to UAB on Saturday:
“That’s what I told [the team]: it’s one game. No matter how many points – and I’ve seen it many times in the NBA – that you get blown out, you can go back out and win the next game. It’s just one of those things. But this team that we’re going to [UAB], they do the same thing. They play very hard and very aggressively and they’ll get into you. We’ve got to muster up the energy that we have, be a bit more disciplined and tougher-minded. I thought that when things went bad [tonight], they kind of drooped similarly to earlier in the year. I don’t want that to come back. They have to keep their shoulders up and face whatever’s in front of them and play as hard as they can.”


-          The Herd allowed 90 points or more: Jan. 25, 2014, at Louisiana Tech (98)


Marshall now trails the all-time series, 2-6, and has yet to win in Murfreesboro (0-4). The Herd’s last win against the Blue Raiders came Nov. 17, 2009: a 63-60 victory at Cam Henderson Center.

The Herd will complete its road trip at the site of the 2015 Conference USA Men’s Basketball Championship: Birmingham, Ala. Marshall will face the UAB Blazers at 8 p.m. ET Saturday in Bartow Arena. For all the latest information about Marshall men’s basketball, follow @HerdMBB on Twitter.

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