Chuck Landon: MU squanders momentum from UCF
What a waste.
After turning in their best overall performance of the season just three days earlier in an emphatic 82-70 win at UCF, Marshall's Thundering Herd wasted the opportunity to build on that success.
The Huntington Sanitation Department should have backed a garbage truck up to the Henderson Center after Marshall's 52-48 loss to UAB Saturday and collected this refuse, this garbage, this trash of a game.
In fact, waste was the word of the day.
Maybe that's why Marshall head coach Tom Herrion didn't waste any words when asked if he took any satisfaction in coming back from a 19-point deficit.
"Zero," he replied, putting a terse ending on his post-game press conference.
Actually, it would have been a waste of time and syllables if Herrion had given any other answer.
Speaking of waste, did anybody realize Marshall wasted 12:43 of the 40-minute game? That's how long the Herd went without scoring a single field goal. The streak ran from the last 8:40 of the first half through the first 4:03 of the second half.
In between, UAB out-scored Marshall, 21-1.
That's because the Herd wasted 19 consecutive field goal attempts. Yes, 19. Marshall missed 19 straight shots during that 12:43 stretch of wasted time.
"That's a long stretch," said Herrion, who wasn't aware the Herd had gone 0-for-19. "I don't think I've ever had a team miss 19 straight. And I don't think I've ever had a team shoot 19 percent in a half (19.4 during the first half)."
The only player who was cognizant of that scoring waste land was Elijah Pittman.
"I missed four shots in a row during that stretch," said the junior forward, who finished with a game-high 18 points. "So, I knew we had missed 15 or so shots in a row."
Then, there's the waste of paying a scoreboard operator when Marshall didn't score a single point for a span of 8:12. If it seemed like Marshall's point total was stuck on 17, it's because it was.
And don't forget the waste of time shooting 3-pointers. Marshall missed its first 16 shots from behind the arc before Pittman finally connected with 15:57 remaining. In fact, Pittman was the only Herd player that made a three, finishing 3-for-11 while four teammates combined for 0-for-15 shooting on treys.
"It wasn't just 3-point shooting tonight," pointed out Herrion. "Although that will be the number everyone wants to jump on. But it wasn't just 3-point shooting."
It was missed layups, missed pivot moves, missed jump hooks, missed runners, missed mid-range jumpers and missed 3-pointers.
What a waste.
"It's tough, man," said DeAndre Kane, junior point guard. "We played so well against UCF. I don't think we played bad here today. We just couldn't make shots. They zoned us and we couldn't make shots."
That is the crux of the matter.
When UAB went zone two minutes into the game, Marshall fell into the dead zone. The Herd acted like the UAB's 2-3 zone was the Rubik's Cube of defenses.
But it wasn't.
"It really wasn't anything different," said Pittman. "We just weren't making shots."
"It was just a basic 2-3 zone," he said.
It might as well have been an Einstein equation because the Herd certainly couldn't solve it. As a result, Marshall has wasted a chance to finish strong.
What a waste of a season.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.