Coming off a blowout victory at home against East Carolina, it looked as if the Marshall Thundering Herd had turned its season around, but Wednesday night’s match-up at Southern Miss proved otherwise.
Marshall traveled to Hattiesburg to take on Southern Miss, and got ran out of the gym, losing to the Golden Eagles 102-46 in the Herd’s worst under head coach Tom Herrion.
“We did not compete from the tip. I apologize to our fans. We never gave ourselves a chance. It was a lack of competitiveness from the first guy to the last, totally from top to bottom, and that starts with me,” Herrion said.
The Herd actually got out to an early lead, jumping on top of the Golden Eagles 3-0 in the opening minute on an Elijah Pittman jumper. However, Southern Miss would respond by going on a 21-0 run.
Southern Miss continued to pull away, extending its lead in the first half by as many as 40 points. Heading into the locker room at halftime, the Herd faced at 53-17 deficit, one it could not overcome.
The Herd did not fare much better in the second half, as USM continued to pour it on. Receiving scoring from all but one player, the Golden Eagles continued to stretch the lead to its final mark of 56.
Coming into the game Southern Miss was first in Conference USA and also led the league in defense, and against Marshall showed exactly why. The Herd shot just 33 percent from the field and from three-point range, while also turning the ball over a season high 31 times.
Southern Miss not only forced 31 Marshall turnovers, but the Golden Eagles converted them into 39 points.
The Golden Eagles also had a field day on the offensive end of the floor against Marshall shooting 63 percent from the field and 55 percent from long range.
“That’s as bad a butt-kicking I’ve ever taken as a coach. That’s something we need to get corrected, and real quick. That’s an awful performance from our group and I take the blame for that,” Herrion said.
Free throw line struggles have been a story line all season for the Herd, and Wednesday night the trend continued as Marshall shot just 13-33 from the charity stripe (30 percent), including just 2-10 in the first half.
Elijah Pittman led the Herd in scoring with 16 points, and DeAndre Kane also chipped in with 13, but he also turned the ball over 11 times.
The loss knocks the Thundering Herd to 9-10 overall (2-2 C-USA), while Southern Miss remains perfect in league play. Marshall will remain on the road to take on yet another Conference USA unbeaten, the Memphis Tigers.
Marshall will visit the FedEx Forum Saturday Jan. 26 to take on Memphis at 2 p.m. in a rematch of last season’s Conference USA championship game.
– Jarrod Clay