Taylor wary of foul trouble
HUNTINGTON -- Ryan Taylor had a good game going for himself and his team Sunday.
Taylor had 12 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots as the Marshall Thundering Herd men's basketball team built a five-point lead at Morehead State deep into the second half.
Then, Taylor fouled out with 4:44 left. Morehead State not only caught up, the Eagles went on to defeat the Herd in overtime, 102-94.
Taylor was a victim of foul calls in a game that had plenty. Marshall had four other players disqualified while Morehead State lost three players. Marshall's 44 fouls and Morehead State's 65 free throw attempts were the most in the nation this season.
The 44 fouls was a Marshall record, breaking the mark of 41 set in December 1991 at Ohio University.
So, what's a player to do when the officials call it that close?
"I guess not use your hands (on defense)," Taylor said.
Taylor is hoping he's learned that lesson when Stephen F. Austin (2-1) visits Marshall (2-1) for a 7 p.m. Thursday game in Cam Henderson Center. Stephen F. Austin from Nacogdoches, Texas, has victories over UT-Tyler (90-64) and Texas State (64-57) with a loss Friday at Texas (72-62).
SFA had a 66-game streak of holding opponents to less than 70 points broken at Texas. The Lumberjacks allow just 64.3 points per game after leading the nation last season with a 51.2 average yield.
The Lumberjacks had a 27-5 record last season, won the Southland Conference regular season title and lost a National Invitation Tournament game at Stanford (58-57).
Desmond Haymon, a 6-foot-3 senior guard for SFA, was a preseason All-Southland first team selection and 6-6 junior Jacob Parker made the second team. Haymon averages 14.0 points and 4.7 rebounds. Parker has marks of 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds.
"They're real balanced in their scoring and rebounding," Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. "They have a high level of talent on the floor. They pass it real well. They screen very well, and they've got great spacing.
"They have the ability to shoot it at five positions."
Taylor, a 6-5 redshirt freshman forward, was the preseason selection for Conference USA Freshman of the Year by CollegeSportsMadness.com and is contributing 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
Marshall scoring leader Elijah Pittman, a 6-9 senior forward, has a 30.3 average built on scoring performances of 31 (vs. South Carolina State), 29 (vs. Rio Grande) and 31 (vs. Morehead State) points.
Pittman is tied for second nationally in scoring.
Herd freshman point guard Kareem Canty has a 17.3 scoring average and is fifth in the nation with 8.3 assists per contest.
Taylor said avoiding foul trouble is important -- Marshall had 26 turnovers Sunday -- and so is not letting up after getting a lead. The Herd was up by 21 at Morehead State with one minute left in the first half. Marshall's six-point lead slipped away in the final 52 seconds of the second half when the Herd missed four free throws and committed two turnovers.
"Sometimes we let off the gas because we think it's over," Taylor said.
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