Marshall not giving up
HUNTINGTON — Some teams would have given up when they bottomed out.
But, not the Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball squad.
Despite its record — 9-17 overall and 3-8 in Conference USA — Marshall bounced right back after tough losses at Southern Miss and Tulane and got back on its feet Saturday with a victory at Charlotte.
“It shows unbelievable character,” Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said Monday before practice. “They’re dusting themselves off the mat. We’re getting mentally tougher and stronger.”
Marshall is deep in the C-USA standings, but still within sight of attaining a bye for the March 11-15 tournament in El Paso, Texas.
The four teams with the best regular season record in conference play will be seeded 1-4 and earn a double-bye, advancing directly to the quarterfinals.
Teams seeded 5-9 receive a bye into the second round. Six other teams must win five games in five days to wear the crown.
Before that, however, Marshall plays four of its final five games at home. Winning at Charlotte was only the start of what Marshall wants to accomplish.
UAB (15-10, 4-7) visits Marshall at 7 p.m. Thursday. Conference co-leader Middle Tennessee (19-7, 9-2) comes in for a 2 p.m. Saturday contest televised on CSS.
“We knocked on the door,” Herrion said. “Now we’ve got to knock through it.
“Now we’ve got to build off of it.”
Marshall outplayed Charlotte (14-10, 5-6) in its 59-56 triumph, Herrion said.
Sophomore guard Chris Thomas put together a personal eight-point run that led to a 36-32 halftime lead. Charlotte went ahead briefly before Kareem Canty sank a pair of foul shots about two minutes into the second period that put Marshall on top for good.
Marshall’s zone defense that led to Charlotte going 4-for-23 on 3-point shots was a big factor. The 49ers made some runs, but didn’t catch up.
“I thought the tougher team won,” Herrion said.
Marshall will need some more toughness against UAB, which leads the conference and is ranked sixth in the nation with a plus-8.9 rebound margin. UAB is second nationally for offensive rebounds with 16.7 per game.
UAB lost at home Saturday against Tulane, 86-80.
The Blazers won 12 of their games in Bartow Arena and are 3-7 away from home.
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