League-Leading Blue Raiders to Face Herd
CSS to air men's basketball afternoon contest
Feb. 21, 2014
GAME 28: MIDDLE TENNESSEE (20-7, 10-2 C-USA) at MARSHALL (9-18, 3-9 C-USA)
Saturday, Feb. 22 - 2 p.m. ET
Huntington, W.Va. | Cam Henderson Center (9,043)
Television: Comcast Sports Southeast
Live Stats | Live Radio | Twitter
|Middle Tennessee State||86|
Herd's Season Ends with NIT Loss
Making its first NIT appearance in 24 years, the Marshall men's basketball team ended its season with an 86-78 loss at Middle Tennessee State Tuesday at the Murphy Center.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - As the number of games remaining in the 2013-14 season shrinks, the Marshall men's basketball team will look to make the most of what remains, starting against Conference USA newcomer and leader, Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Cam Henderson Center. The contest will air live on Comcast Sports Southeast.
General admission tickets are $10 and may be purchased by going to HerdZone.com or by calling 800-THE-HERD. The game can be viewed and heard online via Herd All-Access by going to HerdZone.com. A Herd All-Access subscription for the season is $9.95 per month or $79.95 for one year.
HAVE YOU HERD?
At halftime Thursday night at the Henderson Center, you'd have thought the scoreboard was a big lie. The Thundering Herd was being outrebounded 33-17 by visiting UAB, was 0-of-12 behind the three-point arc, was hitting only 50 percent at the free throw line, had no bench points in 35 minutes played by four men ... and trailed only 30-29.
There were 13 lead changes and 11 ties - the last of those at 50-50. From that point, UAB scored 18 points on 13 possessions, and just as costly as the failure to rebound missed Blazer free throws in the final minutes were three turnovers in a five-possession span in the final four minutes.
Eventually, the above deficits caught up with the Herd, which fell 68-62 to the Blazers because of three things - rebounding, rebounding, rebounding.
The Herd has been outrebounded in 16 of 27 games and is 4-12 in those 16. Marshall still is seeking its first two-game winning streak since home wins over UNC Wilmington and Western Kentucky on Nov. 23 and 26, respectively.
KEEPING IT CONSISTENT
Against UAB, coach Tom Herrion went with the starting five of Shawn Smith (Sacramento), Kareem Canty (Harlem, N.Y.), Cheikh Sane (Dakar, Senegal), Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) and Thomas for the fourth straight game.
Over the past 12 weeks, Marshall has snagged five C-USA Freshman of the Week honors between a pair of Herd first years. Canty is responsible for three of the awards, with them all having come in consecutive weeks (Dec. 2, 9 and 16), while Taylor has collected the other two (Jan. 6 and 27).
The young Thundering Herd has struggled in close games this season as Marshall has posted a 3-13 mark in games decided by 10 or fewer points. The Herd is 1-5 in games decided by five or fewer points this season.
Marshall's three-point win at Charlotte on Feb. 15 was the first time during the 2013-14 season that Herrion's club has won a game that has been decided by five or fewer points.
NOT SO FORTUNATE
College basketball insider Ken Pomeroy has a ranking called "luck" that essentially takes into account statistics and compares that to a team's record and losing a lot of close games will affect a team's ranking in this category. Out of 351 NCAA Division I men's teams, Pomeroy ranks Marshall 349th in the luck category, inversely making them the third unluckiest team in the nation. The Herd has lost five games by one possession this season and an additional two in overtime.
Before the Herd's three-point road win at Charlotte this past weekend, Pomeroy had Marshall as the second unluckiest team in Division I.
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 4-15 when scoring 79 or less points and 5-3 when scoring above 80. Having a 9-9 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 7-3 when converting more attempts from the charity stripe than opponents and 2-14 when making fewer free throws than the opposition. The Herd is shooting 62.3 percent from the line this season (443-of-713). Marshall's 270 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 13.4 and Thomas with 12.7.
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 20 of 27 games this season. Unfortunately, it has not always been enough as the Herd is 6-14 this season when three or more of its own score in double figures and 3-4 when two or fewer 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 5.9 assists per game has the freshman ranked tied for 22nd in the country, while he is the third-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 24 of the season's 27 games.
SCOUTING THE BLUE RAIDERS
With its win over Charlotte on Thursday night, Middle Tennessee reached the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season, with the first two having come within the Sun Belt Conference. The Blue Raiders have won eight straight games by an average margin of victory of 14 points.
Senior forward Shawn Jones is the lone Blue Raider to have started in all 27 games this season for Middle Tennessee and is the team's leading scorer (15.0 ppg) and rebounder (8.5 rpg). Strong play from Jones and his teammates have helped their side into a tie for first in the league standings in the program's first season in C-USA.
Middle Tennessee leads the series against Marshall, 4-2, with the two sides set to face off as conference foes for the first time on Saturday. The Blue Raiders are 1-2 against the Herd in Huntington. The last meeting between the programs came Mar. 12, 2012 in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament in Murfreesboro with Middle Tennessee having won, 86-78.
The Herd will take its final road trip of the regular season when it travels to Norfolk, Va. to take on another C-USA newcomer, Old Dominion, on Thursday (Feb. 27) at 7 p.m.