For the Marshall Thundering Herd, 2013 started just the way 2012 ended, with a loss.
Coming off 10 days rest, the Thundering Herd fell to the Delaware State Hornets 53-51, despite a late rally from a double-digit deficit.
“It’s a gross understatement to say that I’m so disappointed our performance,” Marshall coach Tom Herrion said. “We have to come to grips with what we are and offensively we are so inefficient it’s damaging to us night in and night out.”
From the start, it was evident the game would be a struggle for the Herd as Marshall was only able to muster up 17 first-half points, trailing 21-17. The Herd shot just 7-of-23 from the field in the first half, including 3-of-11 from 3-point range and 0-of-5 from the free-throw line.
Offensive struggles have been the story for the Herd all season, as Marshall is 0-4 when it fails to score more than 60 points.
“It’s hard to figure out, but that’s my job,” Herrion said. “There’s no one in this part of the state that is struggling to find answers more than me and my staff, I can assure you that. They continue to befuddle me.”
It was Marshall’s defense that kept the Herd in the game, as it held Delaware State to under 39 percent shooting and forced 13 Hornets turnovers.
The Hornets came into the contest looking to limit Marshall’s offensive possessions by working deep into the shot clock, but the Herd took advantage forcing multiple shot clock violations.
“Our defense was good enough to win, but offensively we’re still trying to find answers,” Herrion said.
Coming out of the halftime locker room, the Hornets took a 12-point lead. But the Herd countered with a 13-3 run over a seven minutes span to take its first lead of the game when Elijah Pittman knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Herd up 43-41.
The teams traded punches for the remaining three minutes, but the Herd ran out of gas late.
“This one hurts,” Pittman said. “They came out on fire and we didn’t respond, and when you don’t respond this is what happens, we lose.”
The loss drops the Herd to 7-7 with just one nonconference game remaining. Marshall’s winter struggles continue as the Herd is just 2-4 since the start of November.
“It really sucks to lose,” said senior forward Dennis Tinnon. “We didn’t expect to lose this one, just like the other ones. I think some guys don’t take it serious enough, and it gets to a point when you just say ‘I’m sick of losing’, I know I am.”
Hoping to finish its nonconference schedule with a winning record, the Herd will take on rival Ohio on Saturday in Athens, while also trying to avenge last season’s defeat to the Bobcats.
– Jarrod Clay