Road shows Marshall no mercy
HUNTINGTON -- Guess what's next?
Another road game for the Marshall University men's basketball team. At Memphis. And Marshall is 0-6 all-time against the Tigers on their home court including 0-5 in Conference USA games.
Marshall plummeted to a 9-10 season record and is 2-2 in the league following Wednesday's beating at Southern Miss, 102-46, in the most one-sided game ever between C-USA teams.
The 56-point margin of defeat fell just shy of the worst losses in school history -- a pair of 58-point games against Cincinnati Church of Christ in the 1912-13 and 1913-14 seasons. The Thundering Herd tied its worst loss to another college team, a 118-62 game at DePaul on Feb. 14, 1976.
Marshall and Memphis (15-3, 4-0) meet at 2 p.m., Saturday, in FedExForum and the game is an FSN telecast on FS Ohio (Huntington cable Ch. 31) and Root Sports (Ch. 27).
"We've got to get it corrected real quick," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said after Southern Miss (16-4, 5-0) smashed the Herd.
"That was as bad of a butt kicking as I've ever taken as a head coach."
Marshall stayed overnight after the game at Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg, Miss., and made the 300-mile trek to Memphis by bus Thursday. After practicing and playing the next two days in Memphis, the team takes a bus home Saturday.
Memphis played Tuesday at home, defeating Tulane, 71-60, to remain unbeaten in C-USA.
Wednesday's game turned sour quickly for Marshall after Elijah Pittman tossed in a 3-point shot just 19 seconds after the opening tip. The next Marshall score, a Nigel Spikes dunk, didn't come until seven minutes later. By then Southern Miss had blown out to a 21-5 advantage.
Southern Miss, which won for the 23rd consecutive time at home, used a 47-4 run to take a 40-point lead with 6:06 left in the first half.
The Herd never gave itself a chance, Herrion said.
"We were not competing from top to bottom and that starts with me," he said. "I take the blame, and we have got to get this fixed quick."
Marshall set season lows for points, field goals (13), field goal attempts (39) and rebounds (23) while also turning in its lowest free throw percentage of 39.4 percent. The free throw shooting (13 of 33) dropped the team to last in the NCAA statistics on Thursday at 56.8 percent for the season.
The Herd also set a season high with 31 turnovers -- 11 by point guard Dre Kane and seven by forward Dennis Tinnon, who were both preseason all-conference selections.
Pittman led Marshall with 16 points while Kane's 13 points and 11 turnovers were a double-double nobody would want.
Southern Miss shot 63.2 percent from the field, 73.1 percent (19 of 26) at the foul line, was plus-11 in rebounds and made 20 steals. The Golden Eagles, who had only guard Dwayne Davis averaging double-figure points entering the game, had five in double figures, topped by guard Jerrold Brooks with 20 and Davis with 19.
."The score was not indicative of these two teams," Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall said. "Tonight just happened to be our night. We made some shots early which allowed us to get into our press and turn them over, and it just kind of avalanched after that."
Southern Miss leads the conference in scoring defense, allowing 57.5 per game, and Memphis isn't far behind at 62.7. The Golden Eagles and Tigers are one-two in the league for steals per game with 12.4 and 10.0 respectively.
Memphis has a nine-game win streak, including six in a row at home.