The Marshall’s basketball team’s seven-game freefall started with one rival and culminated with another this past weekend.
The Thundering Herd made a resounding thud as it hit rock bottom Saturday afternoon in Athens, Ohio. A 94-57 loss to the Bobcats was uninspired, undisciplined and nearly unwatchable as Marshall bumbled its way to 26 turnovers.
“We just continue to turn the ball over time after time after time and continue to shoot ourselves in the foot,” lamented coach Tom Herrion after Marshall’s abysmal performance at the Convocation Center.
Saturday’s 37-point loss was the culmination of a trend that has been building since the meltdown in the second half of the Capital Classic. Though the Herd entered the annual tilt with West Virginia with a 5-3 record that included gut-wrenching losses to Hofstra and South Dakota State, the overall feeling around the team was positive. However, Marshall shot just 36.5 percent that night and made just 12-of-22 foul shouts in a 10-point defeat.
“We’ve got to turn the page and get ready for conference play.”
Head Coach Tom Herrion
Since that loss, the program has been unable to put the brakes on a season that is running away.
Just crunch the numbers.
During the last seven games Marshall is shooting 37 percent from the field, 32 percent from 3-point range and just 54 percent from the foul line. To put that in perspective, N.C. State leads the nation making 53.5 percent of its field goals, Lehigh is connecting on 80.5 percent of free throws. In fact, Marshall ranks 341st of 345 schools in foul shooting.
Those numbers are staggering enough, but you can’t omit the simple and most disturbing fact that The Herd has turned the ball over 127 times in those seven games. That works out to 18 turnovers a game — an average that would put Marshall in the bottom 10 in the country.
Herd fans were hoping that the struggles of 2012 had been remedied during the holiday layover, that Herrion had found ways to improve the offense even with DeAndre Kane still sidelined and ways to protect the basketball.
Obviously the break and New Year had little affect on Marshall’s woes.
“We’ve got to turn the page and get ready for conference play,” Herrion stated with a hint of optimism toward the future.
League play starts Wednesday with Tulsa visiting the Cam Henderson Center. The season is still salvageable but it is going to take a tremendous turnaround.
Can Marshall do it? Fans have been asking that question for the last seven games.