@HerdMBB's Offense Falters in 69-57 Defeat at Middle Tennessee
The Thundering Herd suffered its first loss in conference play
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Marshall men’s basketball team suffered its first loss in league play when it fell to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 69-57, on Thursday evening at the Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center.
With the loss, Marshall fell to 11-7 (4-1, C-USA) and snapped its four-game winning streak, while Middle Tennessee rose to 14-3 (4-0, C-USA). The Herd’s 57 points were a season-low and snapped its streak of scoring at least 70 points in 37 consecutive games.
Senior forward Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) led the Herd with 12 points and eight rebounds and senior guard Stevie Browning (Charleston, W.Va.) added 11 points. JaCorey Williams collected a double-double and led the Blue Raiders with a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The two sides began the game evenly matched at 19-19 with 9:54 to go, but a Middle Tennessee run helped it pull away. The Blue Raiders went on a 13-3 run and were up 32-22 with 4:18 left in the first half. The Herd fought back thanks to the efforts of Browning and Taylor, which cut the lead to five with 2:12 to go, but Middle Tennessee kept Marshall at arm’s length. The Blue Raiders finished the first half up 37-29.
Marshall shot 11-of-29 (37.9 percent) field goals, 3-of-11 (27.3 percent) three-pointers and was out-rebounded 30-11 in the first half. Middle Tennessee shot 16-of-37 (43.2 percent) and 4-of-10 (40.0 percent) three-pointers. The Herd capitalized on turnovers, out-scoring the Blue Raiders 12-4, but Middle Tennessee out-scored Marshall 18-12 in the paint and 10-2 on second-chance points.
The Blue Raiders kept the momentum going to open up the second half. It started the second period of play with a 13-7 run to make the score 50-36 at the 12:01 mark. The Blue Raiders’ lead eventually jumped to 18 at the 9:17 mark to make 56-38. The Herd could not come back from the deficit and fell 69-57.
Marshall finished the game shooting 37.0 percent from 20-of-54 shooting and made 26.3 percent of its three-pointers from going 5-of-19 in three-point land. Middle Finished the contest making 29-of-72 (40.3 percent) of its shots and 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) of its three-pointers.
Head coach Dan D’Antoni
“They were more physical than we were. They beat us up on the inside. We did a nice job defending. They shot 40 percent and most of those were layups from put-backs. From guarding our sets, we did a good job. Their physicality took over. When that happened, we stopped moving the ball on the other end. We weren’t quick and we didn’t have our quick movement and pace.”
On Terrence Thompson returning:
“We got Terrence Thompson back. I tried to challenge him a little bit into being more physical. I thought he was cautious when he first went out, but he looked like his old self in the second half.”
On the physicality of Middle Tennessee:
“Some people say it’s strength and size. It’s more than that. It’s reacting first. If you react first, you don’t have the strength in the situation that you wouldn’t have from reacting second. We let their size and strength take over and we have to be better than that.”
Marshall did not score at least 70 points for the first time this season. Its 57 points snapped its streak of scoring at least 70 in 37 consecutive games.
Terrence Thompson returned to action for the first time in 12 games. His last appearance was at Ohio State (Nov. 25).
Jon Elmore has now scored at least 10 points in all 18 games this season.
Austin Loop’s two three-pointers moved him to 238 shots from three-point land. He needs four more to move into No. 2 all-time.
Christian Thieneman did not play at least 10 minutes for the first time in five games.
Marshall’s 29 points in the first half was a season-low in first periods.
The Herd’s 28 points in the second half was a season-low.
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Marshall will stay on the road and travel to Birmingham, Ala., to take on the UAB Blazers on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m. The Blazers lead the all-time series, 17-6.