— Braxton Crisp
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– Poor free throw shooting on the part of Marshall and timely free throws by Stephen F. Austin’s Desmond Haymon doomed the Thundering Herd to losing 80-73 in overtime inside the Cam Henderson Center on Thursday night as part of the Roundball Showcase.
Haymon, a senior, drained three free throws with 0.7 seconds to play in the game after he was fouled by Marshall’s TyQuane Goard on a desperation three point shot heaved up by Haymon.
“We did not intend to foul him that deep on a shot with less than a second on the clock in regulation,” Herd head coach Tom Herrion says. “The plan was to foul as we did on the prior possession, and we did it very well, at half court. Poor execution on our part and that’s my responsibility.”
The Herd held its largest lead of the game at eight with under seven minutes to play in regulation, but a 13-5 run by the Lumberjacks spanning over five minutes tied the game up at 61 with 1:16 left on the clock. From there it was back and forth with the game ultimately being tied at 67 after 40 minutes of action.
In overtime, 3-pointers by Jacob Parker and Nikola Gajic sealed the deal for Stephen F. Austin, who moves to 3-1 on the season. The Lumberjacks’ only loss on the season was by 10 at Texas, starting off 2013-14 continuing the winning trend when they went 25-7 and made the NIT Tournament.
“Senior did what he’s supposed to do,” Stephen F. Austin first-year head coach Brad Underwood says of Haymon. “An all-league player that at the end of the game drew a foul, stepped up and made three free throws.”
Parker led all scorers and rebounders with 31 points and 11 boards. Marshall’s Tamron Manning says defensive miscues allowed Parker to score his career high.
“We just had a lot of defensive breakdowns,” Manning says. “He got open on a lot of slips, fake screens, cuts to the basket. It was mainly our fault.”
Marshall was led by Elijah Pittman’s 21 points. Kareem Canty added 14 of his own, while Chris Thomas poured in 11 of his own in just 16 minutes, most of those coming in the first half. Stephen F. Austin had 13 from Gajic and 10 from Thomas Walkup in addition to Parker’s 31. The Lumberjacks shot 17-22 from the free throw line, while the Herd went just 8-24, including just 1-10 in the first half.
The Herd has a quick turnaround, welcoming UNC-Wilmington to Huntington on Saturday for a noon tipoff. A season ago, Bluefield, W.Va. native Craig Ponder netted 26 points in his first collegiate game in West Virginia for the Seahawks.