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Marshall tries to improve in Texas

Jan. 11, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Tom Herrion and Tim Floyd were singing similar tunes Thursday night.

Herrion, the Marshall Thundering Herd men's basketball head coach, lamented the lack of defense in a 90-81 loss at UTSA. Floyd, who coaches the UTEP Miners, was disappointed with the defensive performance in a 73-68 loss at home against Charlotte.

Their teams meet at 9:05 p.m. Saturday in the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.

Marshall (6-10 season, 0-1 Conference USA) fell to 0-8 away from home this season and is 2-22 away from Huntington since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. The Herd is 0-5 on trips to UTEP, including a loss in the 2010 conference tournament.

"No doubt our defense was poor to say the least," Herrion said after the UTSA game. "They scored every way imaginable. We left shooters open. They drove it on us. They posted on us. They scored second-chance points."

UTSA (5-9, 1-0) connected on 61.5 percent of its shots in the second half to pull away, hit 56.6 percent for the game and was 7-for-9 on 3-point attempts. The Roadrunners had only two previous wins against NCAA Division I teams and five losses by more than 25 points.

Herrion said the Herd's offensive production was good enough, except at the free throw line where it made only 17 of 29 foul shots.

"We're giving away empty possessions where we can't make free throws," he said.

UTEP (10-6, 0-1) had a five-game win streak stopped by Charlotte. Two staples of the streak -- defense and rebounding -- deserted the Miners.

The Charlotte 49ers (10-4, 1-0) shot 48.1 percent from the field and were plus-14 in rebounds.

It was UTEP's first game since Tuesday when McKenzie Moore, Jalen Ragland and Justin Crosgile were kicked out of school for betting on sporting events.

"We didn't defend well enough to win," Floyd said.

Marshall is third in C-USA scoring at 81.9 per game, but is giving up 76.3 to rank ahead of only UTSA at 78.8. UTEP averages 69.9 points and its defense is second in the conference at 65.7.

Kareem Canty scores 17.0 a game to lead Marshall, putting the freshman point guard sixth in the league, and he is first in assists with 6.7. Marshall freshman forward Ryan Taylor (13.2) and sophomore guard Chris Thomas (11.6) also score in double figures while the 6-foot--5 Taylor gets 7.1 rebounds.

UTEP's top scorer was Moore (13.1), but is now 6-8 junior Julian Washburn (11.7) followed by 6-11 senior John Bohannon (10.8) who is also seventh in C-USA with 8.1 rebounds.

Vince Hunter is a 6-8 freshman for the Miners putting up 9.9 points and getting 6.5 rebounds.

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