Feb. 6, 2014
GAME 24: MARSHALL (8-15, 2-6 C-USA) at SOUTHERN MISS (19-3, 6-1 C-USA)
Friday, Feb. 7 - 9:30 p.m. ET
Television: CBS Sports Network
Hattiesburg, Miss. | Reed Green Coliseum (8,095)
Live Stats | Live Radio | Twitter
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Having suffered the worst loss in Conference USA history the last time it traveled to Hattiesburg, during the 2012-13 season, the Marshall men's basketball team will make a return trip to Southern Miss with a very different team, Friday night at 9:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
In-game Twitter updates @HerdMBB, results and a recap from the night's action will be available at HerdZone.com.
HAVE YOU HERD?
The Thundering Herd couldn't quite overcome the Owls, as FAU built a 14-point lead with 8:27 to play and then held off Marshall, 65-57, at the Cam Henderson Center on Saturday.
An Autism Awareness Day crowd of 4,802 watched the Herd climb within three at 60-57 with 33 seconds left, but coach Tom Herrion's club couldn't finish the rally.
For a second straight Conference USA week, Marshall won a Thursday night game, but 48 hours later struggled. Marshall hasn't been able to win back-to-back games since Nov. 23 and 26 at home against UNC Wilmington and Western Kentucky, respectively.
SHAKING IT UP
The Herd is currently 1-10 away from home this season and is 3-24 away from Huntington since the start of the 2012-13 season.
Coach Herrion once again adjusted the starting lineup, making it the sixth lineup in as many games for the Herd. This time consisting of Tamron Manning
(Georgetown, Ky.), Shawn Smith
(Sacramento, Calif.), Chris Thomas
(Denver), TyQuane Goard
(Charleston, W.Va.), and Ryan Taylor
Over the past 10 weeks, Marshall has snagged five C-USA Freshman of the Week honors between a pair of Herd first years. Taylor is the most recent as his 17.5 ppg and 9.5 rpg showing a week ago earned him the award, Jan. 27. After having earned it on Jan. 6 as well, at the time he had now won the award in two of the last four weeks.
Canty is responsible for three of the awards, with them all having come in consecutive weeks (Dec. 2, 9 and 16). Only one other player in the league has received the honor on three occasions this season, Jonathan Stark of Tulane.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS
Marshall has yet to win a game this season in which it failed to reach the 70-point plateau. The Herd is 3-12 when scoring 79 or less points and 5-3 when scoring above 80. Having an 8-6 record when keeping opponents below 79 points of offense, Marshall is 0-9 when allowing the opposition to score more than 80 points.
ON THE LINE
Free throws have been a point of emphasis for the Herd this season as Marshall is 6-2 when converting more attempts from the charity stripe than opponents and 2-12 when making fewer free throws than the opposition. The Herd is shooting 62.4 percent from the line this season (392-of-628). Marshall's 236 missed free throw attempts rank first in NCAA Division I men's basketball.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
With numerous scoring threats in the Marshall lineup, four members of the Herd are averaging double figures in scoring, three of which have become a mainstay in the Herd's starting lineup: Canty with 16.3, Taylor with 14.0 and Thomas with 11.8. Smith is knocking on the double-digit doorstep as he is averaging 8.3 points in his emerging sixth-man role.
The Herd has received scoring help from more than its top four scorers as Marshall has had three or more of its own score in double figures in 17 of 23 games this season. Unfortunately, it has not always been enough as the Herd is 6-11 this season when three or more of its own score in double figures and 2-4 when two or less reach 10 points.
A HELPING HAND
The benefit of having a true point guard has helped the Herd greatly this year and Canty has been the primary reason for that. An average of 6.5 assists per game has the freshman ranking 10th in the country, while he is the second-best assist man in C-USA. Canty has recorded four double-doubles on the season, all coming from a combination of points and assists.
Canty has led or tied for the lead in assists for the Herd in all 23 games this season.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
The Herd will face a Southern Miss (19-3, 6-1 C-USA) squad that is currently firing on all cylinders, having won ten of its last 11 contests, while posting a 9-0 record on its home floor this season. One of the three Golden Eagle defeats came on the road to a Western Kentucky (Dec. 18) team that Marshall defeated on its home floor (Nov. 26).
Offensive balance is something Southern Miss is known for as three of its own are averaging in double figures, with two others averaging at least 8.8 ppg. Senior guard Neil Watson leads the Golden Eagles in scoring with 12.2 ppg and was recently named C-USA player of the Week, Jan. 27. The Herd will be in for a battle on the boards as Southern Miss enters the contest with a rebounding margin of +8.0.
Marshall holds a 9-7 advantage in the all-time series, including wins in three of the last four meetings. The last time the Herd played in Reed Green Coliseum, it fell 102-46 as the 56-point defeat set a record margin of victory in a Conference USA league game. Marshall has historically struggled in Hattiesburg, posting a 1-5 record against the Golden Eagles on the road.
The Herd will continue its southern swing in a Sunday matinee at Tulane with tip-off set for 2 p.m.