HOUSTON — Having struggled away from home since the start of the 2012-13 season, the Marshall men’s basketball team bucked the trend Thursday night with a 73-63 win at Rice behind a pair of 18-point showings from Kareem Canty and Ryan Taylor.
The Herd (7-13, 1-4 Conference USA) collected its first road win of the season while the Owls dropped to 5-13 overall and 0-5 in conference.
Coach Tom Herrion went with a different starting lineup for the second straight game, consisting of Shawn Smith, DeVince Boykins, TyQuane Goard, Ryan Taylor and Tamron Manning.
The Herd’s first-half advantage grew largest at 22-10 when sophomore guard Chris Thomas drained a 3 with 9:04 to play. At the half, the Herd led 33-22 thanks to a 14-2 edge in bench scoring.
The Owls opened the second half with a 9-1 run, bringing the score to 34-31 with 16:18 remaining, but Marshall answered with a 15-4 run capped by a lay-in from Boykins.
Down the stretch, both sides exchanged buckets with Rice looking for a run to make a game of it late. With Marshall milking the shot clock through its point guard Canty, Taylor sank a mid-range jumper with little time remaining on the shot clock as 3:03 remained, making it 62-51.
The knockout blow was delivered by Canty as he grabbed a defensive rebound and was fouled, sending him to the line. After sinking both free-throws, the scoreboard read 66-53 with 56 seconds on the clock. As the clock ran out, Canty had scored eight of the Herd’s last 11, clinching a 73-63 road win.
Marshall got to the line often on the night and made its attempts count, finishing 22-of-29 (75.9 percent). Canty added seven assists, while going 8-of-8 from the foul line. Taylor had eight rebounds.
Marshall got off to a fast 7-0 start over the home team and its opening scoring flurry continued as a long-range bucket from freshman forward Taylor pushed it to 11-3, capping a strong start. Stingy defense was key for Marshall in forcing five early Rice turnovers, leading to numerous fast break opportunities.
Marshall will continue its trip with a nationally-televised tilt at Louisiana Tech on Saturday on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. Eastern.