Trailing by 19 early in the second half, Marshall stormed back to tie the game late, but could not hang on in a 52-48 loss to UAB.
“This is obviously a hard loss — we were so inefficient on offense, but our defense was more than good enough to win tonight,” said Marshall coach Tom Herrion. “We just didn’t play smart down the stretch.”
The Herd (12-16, 5-8 Conference USA) went on a 29-10 run to draw even temporarily at 46 with 1:17 remaining, before UAB (13-14, 5-7) regained the lead.
Marshall had an opportunity to retie the game in the closing seconds, forcing a turnover on a Blazers’ inbounds play. That led to a Tamron Manning 3-point try that shot fell short and UAB corralled the rebound.
“I’m stating the obvious, but we didn’t do the things in the second half that I wanted,” said UAB coach Jared Haase. “Having said that, I’m so proud of my guys, they made enough plays and did enough things to win the game.
Marshall had one of its worst offensive performances of the season after shooting better than 54 percent in its last outing at UCF. The Herd shot just 26 percent from the field, 12 percent (3-of-26) from 3-point range, and made only 15-of-26 free throws.
“You have to find ways to impact the game in different ways, and tonight was a glaring example of when the ball doesn’t go in you’ve got to find a way,” Herrion said.
Marshall finished the first half trailing 30-17 after going 0-of-13 from beyond the 3-point line.
UAB stretched its lead out to 19 just three minutes into the second half. That margin held until the 15-minute mark when Marshall began its comeback, thanks to Elijah Pittman sinking three consecutive three pointers.
“Yes, we fought back, but we are supposed to fight back,” Herrion said. “Clearly, we didn’t get the job done after we dug a big hole.”
Pittman was the game-high scorer with 18 points, and the only Herd player to hit double figures.
The Blazers were led by Jordan Swing’s 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Herd will get a week off before it travels to Houston for the team’s only regular-season matchup with the Cougars.
— Jarrod Clay