Marshall Falls to Blue Raiders, 99-90, in C-USA Semifinal

Updated 4 years ago Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
Marshall Falls to Blue Raiders, 99-90, in C-USA Semifinal

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A pair of junior guards posted 20-point performances for third-seeded Marshall men’s basketball (17-16) in a hard-fought 99-90 loss against second-seeded Middle Tennessee in the Conference USA Championship Semifinal on Friday Night at Legacy Arena at The BJCC.

The loss eliminated the Thundering Herd from the tournament, while the Blue Raiders advanced to Saturday’s championship game.

“For this game, I felt like we learned how hard you have to play to advance in a tournament,” Herd coach Dan D’Antoni said. “In their press, we were soft. We didn’t attack it strongly like we will and we can. Things are bright and things are looking good. We’ll be back next year.”

Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) hit three 3-pointers and went 7-of-7 from the free throw line en route to his fourth game of the season scoring 20 points. Stevie Browning (Logan, W.Va.) joined Loop at the 20-point mark, posting a career-high nine field goals made. Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) and Justin Edmonds (Albion, Mich.) had 13 points apiece, and senior forward James Kelly (Ann Arbor, Mich.) rounded-out double-figure scoring for Marshall with 11 points. Taylor had a team-high seven rebounds.

There were four ties in the first five minutes and no lead larger than three through the first eight minutes. Marshall used an 8-0 run, including four points from Browning, to take a largest lead of 18-13 at 10:41. The Herd kept the lead until the final five minutes, when a 13-0 run gave MT a 31-22 advantage at 4:34. Middle Tennessee followed that with a 6-0 run two minutes later to reach a lead of 39-27 at 1:53. Loop hit two free throws to set the halftime score at 39-29.

Middle Tennessee exploded for 16 points in the first three minutes of the second half, reaching a largest lead of 18 points (52-34) at 16:57. From there, the Blue Raiders were unstoppable. They were dangerously accurate from the field, going on spurts of nine made field goals in a row and unanswered runs of six points or more. The Blue Raiders held on to a double-figure margin until the final four seconds of the game, when Edmonds hit a three to make it 98-90. Karl Gamble made a free throw to set the final score at 99-90.

The Blue Raiders out-shot the Herd, 58.5 percent to 47.3 percent, and shot 76.9 percent (20-of-26) in the second half. MT had a 40-34 advantage on the boards, and held Marshall to zero fast break points.

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  1. MU Boxscore/Stats (407.34 KB)
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