AKRON, Ohio – With multiple chances to take a late lead on the road with seconds remaining, the Marshall men’s basketball team’s chances rimmed out as the Thundering Herd fell 59-58 to Akron on Thursday night.
Marshall has now dropped its last three contests, falling to 5-9 on the year, while the Zips improve to 8-5. The Herd is now 0-7 away from the Cam Henderson Center this season and is 2-21 away from Huntington since the start of the 2012-13 season.
After an early 3-2 deficit, Marshall used an 8-0 run to go up 11-3 with five straight points from sophomore guard Chris Thomas (Denver) in the midst of the run.
At the second media timeout with 11:45 remaining in the first half, the Herd had a 14-7 advantage while Akron’s leading scorer, senior forward Demetrius Treadwell, was on the bench as a result of three early fouls.
Akron would answer with a run of its own to knot the game at 19 apiece with 8:15 to play in the first period. The Zips would remain on the attack, allowing them to take a 27-22 lead with 4:36 until the break.
With the Herd held scoreless in the last 3:13 of the first half, Akron took a 31-25 advantage into halftime. Despite 13 first-half turnovers by Marshall and 26 Akron bench points, the Herd trailed by just six.
Freshman guard Kareem Canty (Harlem, N.Y.) paced Marshall with eight points through the first 20 minutes, while Akron’s Isaiah Johnson had a game high 10 points at the break.
The Zips came out in the second half on a mission to put the Herd away and with 12:06 to play, Treadwell sank a layup to put Akron up by a game-high 11 points, 45-34.
Not buckling under the road pressure with a double-digit deficit, Marshall would climb back into the contest as a Canty layup brought the Herd within two, 47-45, with 6:54 remaining.
After exchanging buckets down the stretch, Marshall would come even closer after a steal and slam from Thomas to make it a one-point game, 59-58, with 50.5 seconds on the clock.
Marshall’s defense made a critical stop with 14.7 seconds left to force a shot clock violation and give the ball to the Herd. With a chance to go ahead, an unkind rim did not allow a Marshall shot to go through and Akron got the rebound. A foul sent Akron to the line for two free throws with a chance to extend the lead to three with 2.5 seconds to play, but senior forward Quincy Diggs was unable to convert either attempt.
After a rebound by Thomas, coach Tom Herrion called a quick timeout as the Herd had possession down one with 2.3 seconds remaining. With one last chance for the win, Canty heaved a shot from just shy of midcourt that clanked off the front iron and out, allowing Akron to hold on for the, 59-58, victory.
The Herd is now 0-3 in games decided by five points or less this season and 1-7 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Freshman forward Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis, Ind.) led the Herd with 16 points on the night, while Canty, Thomas and sophomore forward TyQuane Goard (Charleston, W.Va.) each added 10 of their own.
Marshall will return home for its final nonconference contest of the season against Presbyterian, Sunday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m.