Herd can't complete comeback
HUNTINGTON -- D.D. Scarver tossed in a 3-point shot Saturday night to give Marshall's Thundering Herd a two-point lead on UAB with nearly nine minutes left in the first half.
Marshall's next field goal attempt that went in the net was Elijah Pittman's 3-pointer at 15:57 of the second half -- a field goal drought of almost 13 minutes that doomed the Herd in a Conference USA men's basketball game attended by a season-best home crowd of 6,614 spectators in Cam Henderson Center.
UAB needed to hold off a second half rally by Marshall, but had enough cushion to leave town with a 52-48 victory.
Marshall (12-16, 5-8 C-USA) was stuck on 17 points for a period of 8:12 spanning both halves.
"We missed everything tonight -- layups, jumpers, threes," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. "Sometimes you just have to find a way. We dug ourselves a big hole and we fought back which I was proud of, but just didn't play smart down the stretch."
Marshall shot 19.4 percent in the first half and set a season-low with 26.3 percent in the game. That included going 3-for-26 on 3-point shots. Marshall missed its first 15 3-point shots before Pittman connected in the second half.
Herrion said he's never had a team shoot 19 percent in a half.
Pittman's 18 points led Marshall while Kane and Spikes both scored nine. Spikes collected 15 rebounds.
Once again, Marshall let a lot of points slip away in a 15-for-26 free throw shooting performance.
"We had open looks," said Pittman, who made five of 15 field goal attempts. "We just weren't making shots. We took bad shots, but the majority were good looks we weren't making."
UAB (13-14, 5-7 C-USA) pulled away by 19 early in period two before Marshall got untracked.
The Blazers didn't make a lot of shots either in a 30.2 percent performance on field goals and a 4-for-18 showing on 3-pointers, but they made enough.
Head coach Jerod Haase of the Blazers said Marshall did a good job on defense in the second half.
DeVInce Boykins made a steal and fed Dre Kane for a layup that got Marshall within 46-44 with 3:42 remaining. Spikes made a jump shot and the game was tied, 46-46, with 2:51 left.
The Blazers took the lead back on a Foz Alihodzic free throw and moved in front, 49-46, on Jordan Swing's basket with 53 seconds left in the game.
Marshall botched a rebound blockout on a missed free throw that resulted in Swing making two foul shots for a 51-46 advantage.
Kane made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds on the clock that gave Marshall another chance to tie it. Marshall forced a UAB turnover with its fullcourt pressure and Kane got a steal. Tamrom Manning's 3-point attempt missed with five seconds showing.
"We got a steal on the inbound and got another shot, but didn't make that one either," Kane said.
Swing scored 15 for the Blazers and Rod Rucker added 13. Robert Williams and Swing collected 11 and 10 rebounds respectively in a 50-45 advantage for the visitors.
Earlier this season the Blazers missed 43 straight 3-point shots in consecutive games and Haase said he knew what Marshall was feeling.
"I've been on the flip side," Haase said.