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Chuck Landon: Pride on line for Herd vs. So. Miss

Mar. 05, 2013 @ 12:05 AM

There have been many questions about Marshall's basketball team during this disturbingly disappointing 12-17 season.

Questions about desire, attitude, competitiveness and character.

Why, there even have been questions about whether Marshall coach Tom Herrion has lost this team.

They are all valid.

Particularly after Marshall simply didn't show up defensively against Houston during an embarrassing 103-76 blowout loss Saturday. It was the least effort the Herd showed on defense since a humiliating 102-46 defeat at Southern Miss on Jan. 23.

Isn't that ironic considering Marshall's opponent at 7 p.m., Tuesday?

Yes, it's Southern Miss.

Perhaps, it is fate Marshall plays the Golden Eagles in the Herd's final home game of the regular season in the Henderson Center.

At least, this way we finally will get some answers.

After the way Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall ran up the score on Marshall in Hattiesburg, Miss., the entire Herd Universe should find out tonight about MU's competitive pride. ... or lack thereof.

If Marshall's players don't want some vengeance, some payback, some retribution after the way Tyndall poured it on by doubling the score and beating the Herd by 56 points, then that answers all the questions about desire, attitude, competitiveness and character.

Any true competitor would play his heart out to get even after having the score ran up on him. And make no mistake, Tyndall did just that.

No team accidentally outscores an opponent by 56 points. Just as no team inadvertently doubles the score. That is done solely on purpose.

And that's precisely what happened during Marshall's 102-46 loss at Southern Miss. Tyndall got a chance to run up the score and took full advantage of it.

Now, is that his fault? Partially. But Marshall also is to blame. The Herd allowed it to happen. It is Marshall's job to keep the game competitive. It's the players' charge as scholarship athletes and the coaching staff's duty.

It was Marshall's fault for allowing Southern Miss to run up the score. Herrion admitted that after the rout.

"We did not compete from the top to the bottom -- not one man, not one guy," said Herrion.

That doesn't excuse Tyndall's breach of coaching etiquette, however, because he did indeed run up the score. If there were any doubt, Southern Miss' official play-by-play proved it.

Eagles' starting point guard Neil Watson scored his last points of the game on a steal and layup with 2:49 remaining to give Southern Miss a 50-point lead, 96-46. In fact, Watson, who played 30 minutes, wasn't taken out of the game for good until the 2:23 mark when Tyndall finally cleared his bench.

So, why did that happen?

It's because Tyndall and Herrion don't like each other. That stems from an incident when Tyndall was coaching Morehead State and Herrion contacted him in hopes of scheduling a game.

After Tyndall declined, I wrote about Marshall's non-conference scheduling problems and chided Morehead State for not playing an annual series with the nearby Herd. That prompted Tyndall to contact Herrion and accuse him of putting me up to writing the column. That, of course, is preposterous.

Yet, that's what led to Tyndall running up the score.

But look on the bright side. With UCF leaving Conference USA, Marshall's fans needed a new "Donnie" to boo.

Now, they have one.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2787 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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