Herd Cage Owls for Conference USA Road Win

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HOUSTON, Texas – Having struggled away from home since the start of the 2012-13 season, the Marshall men’s basketball team bucked the trend Thursday night with a, 73-63, Conference USA win at Rice in Tudor Fieldhouse behind a pair of 18-point showings from members of the Thundering Herd.

With the win, the Herd improved to 7-13 overall and 1-4 in league play, while also collecting its first road win of the season. The Owls drop to 5-13 overall and 0-5 in conference. Marshall now leads the all-time series versus Rice 8-2, having won five straight and all four meetings against the Owls in Houston.

Coach Tom Herrion went with a different starting lineup for the second-straight game, this time having consisted of Shawn Smith (Sacramento, Calif.), DeVince Boykins (Forest City, N.C.), TyQuane Goard (Charleston, N.C.), Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) and Tamron Manning (Georgetown, Ky.).

Marshall got off to a fast 7-0 start over the home team and its opening scoring flurry continued as a long-range bucket from freshman forward Taylor pushed it to 11-3, capping a strong start. Stingy defense was key for Marshall in forcing five early Rice turnovers, leading to numerous fast break opportunities.

The Herd’s first-half advantage grew largest when sophomore guard Chris Thomas (Denver) drained a three with 9:04 to play in the half, putting his side up 22-10. Even with the Owls settled in and trading buckets with the Herd, Marshall was not willing to relinquish its lead after its impressive start. At the final media timeout of the first half, 3:52 remained and a 29-20 lead was in place for the visitors.

At the half, the Herd led 33-22 courtesy of eight points and six rebounds from Taylor, paired with six points from sophomore forward Goard. Several categories had Marshall out front at the break, including bench points (14-2), second chance points (5-0) and points off turnovers (6-0).

With an added boost from its awakened crowd, the Owls opened the second half with a 9-1 run, bringing the score to 34-31 with 16:18 remaining in the contest. The difference would remain at three until a 12-2 run brought it to 50-37 after a pair of free throws from Goard. A lay-in from Boykins capped what ended as a 15-4 run to put the Herd out front 53-39 with 8:28 left.

Down the stretch, both sides exchanged buckets with Rice looking for a run to make a game of it late. With Marshall milking the shot clock through its point guard Canty, Taylor sank a mid-range jumper with little time remaining on the shot clock as 3:03 remained, making it 62-51.

The knockout blow was delivered by Canty as he grabbed a defensive rebound and was fouled, sending him to the line. After sinking both free-throws, the scoreboard read 66-53 with 56 seconds on the clock. As the clock ran out, Canty had scored eight of the Herd’s last 11, clinching a 73-63 road win.

Marshall got to the line often on the night and made its attempts count, finishing the game 22-of-29 from the stripe (75.9 percent). Canty finished the night with 18 points and seven assists, while having gone 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. Taylor recorded 18 as well, along with eight rebounds.

Marshall will continue its trip with a nationally-televised tilt at Louisiana Tech, Saturday on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. Eastern.

In-game Twitter updates @HerdMBB, results and a recap from the night’s action will be available at HerdZone.com.

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