Just three days after an embarrassing 56-point loss to the hands of Southern Miss, the Marshall Thundering Herd remained on the road to take on another undefeated team in Conference USA, the Memphis Tigers.
In a rematch of last season’s conference championship game, the Tigers outlasted the Herd 73-72.
“They had tremendous fight today, just battled their brains out. They were resilient, just kept battling and battling. We showed today what our character is all about,” said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion.
Although the Herd fell short, the game was a complete contrast to Wednesday night’s matchup with Southern Miss. While Marshall never led, the entire game was played within a 10-point window as the Tigers opened up a 10-point lead, the largest of the game, midway through the first half.
Trailing 66-62 with just over three minutes remaining the Herd went on a 7-4 run to pull within two with just 14 seconds remaining. Rather than going for the tie, Marshall went for the win. Elijah Pittman was unable to convert a three pointer that would have given the Herd the lead.
After Memphis knocked down a pair of free throws, DeAndre Kane hit a last second three to pull the Herd within one as the buzzer sounded.
“I thought we played nose-to-nose and punch-to-punch today,” Herrion said. “The challenge is to do that night in, night out with 11 games left in conference play.”
The game was a complete turn-around from the Southern Miss loss in nearly every way. Marshall’s offense got back into a rhythm as the Herd shot 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from long range.
Against Southern Miss, the Herd committed 31 turnovers, but Marshall was much more careful with the ball against Memphis only committing 13.
DeAndre Kane was the game’s leading scorer as the junior recorded 22 points on 9-18 shooting, and the Herd also received a 20 point effort by junior college transfer D.D. Scarver.
The loss knocks Marshall back to 9-11 on the season overall and to 2-3 in Conference USA play. The Herd has yet to come up with a victory on the road this season as Marshall is 0-10 in true road games. With the victory, Memphis remains a perfect 5-0 in league play.
After back-to-back games on the road, the Herd will now return home to take on Southern Methodist on Wednesday Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. The teams met just one time last season, and in that matchup the Herd went on the road and picked up a 73-68 victory.
– Jarrod Clay