North Texas whips Marshall
HUNTINGTON — Even when the Marshall Thundering Herd made a shot Thursday night — which was a rare occurrence — North Texas took it out of the net and was off to the races.
Marshall didn’t make many shots in a 30.8 percent shooting performance, and the Mean Green ran with the misses too.
And, North Texas also ran with turnovers in an 80-65 men’s basketball victory over Marshall in Cam Henderson Center played for a turnout of 4,586 spectators.
“We talked about transition defense all week — makes, misses or turnovers,” Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. “It clearly did not register because they ran it right up our backs to start the game.”
North Texas (10-7 season, 1-2 Conference USA) stunned Marshall with its speed early. The Mean Green, a first-season C-USA member, raced to an early 17-7 lead when Marshall misfired on 14 of its first 17 field goal attempts and pulled away by 18 before settling into a 39-27 halftime lead.
The Mean Green scored six points in lightning-fast fashion as a result of three consecutive Marshall turnovers in a 62-second stretch to go ahead, 27-9, at 9:05 of the first half.
Chris Jones of the Mean Green began the run by intercepting a Kareem Canty pass. Jordan Williams missed a layup and Colin Voss put the rebound in. Canty had another pass picked off by Williams who took it for a dunk. A Chris Thomas pass went to Jones and he converted with a three-point play.
“A painful, frustrating loss to say the least,” Herrion said. “I was disappointed in our toughness. We didn’t play tough enough to win. That bothers me more than anything.”
When Marshall did get into its offense without throwing the basketball away, the Herd chucked up 3-point shots against the North Texas zone defense to the tune of a 3-for-15 performance in the opening period and 5-for-25 in the game.
Marshall’s misses fueled the North Texas running game.
“On makes or misses we want to run,” Mean Green head coach Tony Benford said.
The North Texas transition game resulted in a 50.0 percent shooting performance while the Herd struggled and hit just 30.8 percent.
Herrion said the Herd’s shooting was “Awful, awful, awful.”
North Texas was led by Jordan Williams with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Voss scored 16 and Alzee Wiliiams added 10 points. Jones, the point guard, pitched in nine points and had eight assists.
The Mean Green also received a boost from its bench players who outscored the Herd reserves, 23-8.
Marshall had Canty with 26 points and Taylor with 22 points and 14 rebounds, but other players combined for just 17 points.
“We had other scoring opportunities and didn’t finish,” Herrion said.
The Herd cut the deficit in half after trailing by 16 at 8:45 of the second half.
Thomas made a layup for his only field goal in 13 tries and sank a foul shot that got the Herd within 10 with 4:22 remaining. Canty made a pair of foul shots that cut the gap to 67-59 with 4:02 left.
It was still an eight-point difference when Canty drove for a layup with 2:44 remaining.
Herd forward TyQuane Goard committed a flagrant foul on Voss who made a foul shot with 2:19 to go. North Texas kept possession and a Williams layup made it 74-63 with 1:50 left in the game.
Marshall had a good foul shooting game at 20-for-29 (69.0 percent) and controlled the backboards most of the game before being outrebounded by one.
Taylor recorded his fifth double-double of the season and fouled out of a game for the sixth time.
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