Well-rounded Herd overwhelms Blue Raiders, 82-66


HUNTINGTON – Five players reached double-figure scoring for Marshall men’s basketball in an 82-66 win over Middle Tennessee on Thursday night at Cam Henderson Center.

The Thundering Herd improved to 11-10, 7-1, tying for first place in the Conference USA standings with UAB. The Blazers visit Huntington Saturday at noon on CBS Sports Network. Middle Tennessee fell to 14-6, 6-2 in league play.

Junior guard Stevie Browning (Logan, W.Va.) led Marshall with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, 3-of-6 from distance. Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) had 14 points, followed by C.J. Burks (Martinsburg, W.Va.) and Jon Elmore (Charleston, W.Va.) with 12 points apiece. Elmore added six rebounds and a career-high nine assists. Senior forward James Kelly (Ann Arbor, Mich.) wrapped up double-figure scoring for the Herd with 11 points.

The Herd got off to a slow start against the Blue Raiders, with its first score coming on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Taylor with 16:49 remaining in the first half. Marshall came out of the first media timeout trailing 7-3, but an alley-oop from Elmore to Kelly provided a spark in the offense. The Herd used a 7-0 run to jump out to a 10-7 lead with just under 13 minutes to play. The Blue Raiders held the lead at 13-12 shortly, but an 8-0 run over 51 seconds propelled the Herd ahead 20-13. Marshall took its first double-digit lead of the evening with 5:41 left in the first half following a slam by Terrence Thompson (Durham, N.C.). The Herd led for 13:51 and went into the locker room with a 37-28 lead.

Marshall came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. An 11-2 run opened up the game for the Herd, which held a 56-36 lead with 15:23 remaining in the contest. A 15-2 run gave Marshall a 24 point lead with 7:13 to play, its biggest lead of the night. The Blue Raiders leading scorer this season, Giddy Potts, fouled out at 4:07 with 10 points.

The Herd out-shot MT, 45.2 percent (28-of-62) to 38.5 percent (25-of-65), but the Blue Raiders had the 43-40 edge in rebounding.

WITH THE WIN…

– Marshall tied its overall win total (11) and C-USA win total (7) from last season, when the Herd finished 11-21, 7-11.

– Marshall earned its best eight-game start to conference play since going 7-1 to start the 1996-97 Southern Conference season under Greg White.

– The Herd continued its longest home win streak in conference play since winning 12 in a row over three years (1996-98) in the Southern Conference.

– The Herd earned its longest home win streak since winning seven from Nov. 22, 2010, to Jan. 10, 2011.

UP NEXT

Marshall and UAB will battle for outright possession of first place in Conference USA on Saturday at Cam Henderson Center. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the game with a noon tipoff. For the latest information about Marshall men’s basketball, follow @HerdMBB on Twitter.

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WOMEN

Middle Tennessee 65,

Marsahll 54

MURFREESBORO, Tn. – Brea Edwards and Ty Petty each netted 17 points and seven rebounds to power the Middle Tennessee women’s basketball team to a 65-54 win over visiting Marshall Thursday evening at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.

The win moved the Blue Raiders to 12-7 overall and 6-2 in Conference USA. Marshall dropped to 13-6 and 3-5 in the league with the defeat.

Caroline Warden had 12 points for the home team and Alex Johnson added 11. Rebecca Reuter also had seven caroms and Petty tacked on eight assists to her impressive stat line. Gabby Lyon tallied four steals.

Marshall was led by Leah Scott’s 16 points and seven rebounds. She made up for a 3-for-13 (1-for-6 on 3-pointers) night from the field by getting to the free throw line 13 times, converting nine times. Norrisha Victrum added 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting.

Talequia Hamilton contributed three blocked shots and Taylor Porter notched three steals.

“I thought we fought for about half of the game against a storied program and a very tough place to play,” said Marshall coach Matt Daniel. “Hopefully, we are learning lessons and taking notes. Now we turn our attention to a UAB program that only has one loss at home this season. This is the life of one of the toughest leagues in the country.”

The Herd’s undoing came largely in the third quarter, which Middle Tennessee won 23-9. Marshall had difficulty finding the range in the second half, converting just six of its 27 field goals (22.2 percent), including two of 15 (13.3 percent) from long range. One area Marshall did improve was at the free throw line. After making just two of six from there in the first half, the visitors went 14-for-17 (82.4 percent) in the second 20 minutes.

The Blue Raiders held significant edges in points in the paint (32-14), rebounding (40-27), assists (16-6).

The Blue Raiders flipped the script, so to speak, in their rebounding prowess Thursday. They came into the game second in the league in offensive rebounding (15.4 per game) and next to last on the defensive end (22.6). On Thursday, they grabbed just seven offensively, but 33 on defense.

Neither team took especially great care of the ball as Middle has 23 turnovers to Marshall’s 18.

The Thundering Herd led for more than 12 minutes of the first half, building a nine-point lead (16-7) on Khadaijia Brooks’s first 3-pointer with 1:27 left in the first quarter. However, Middle grabbed a 25-24 advantage on a Warden 3-pointer with 1:51 left in the second quarter and took a 27-26 lead into halftime.

The Blue Raiders took advantage of Marshall’s third-quarter struggles and built its lead to as many as 15 twice, the last on a Petty layup to take a 50-35 lead through three quarters.

Marshall fought back in the fourth quarter, outscoring the home team, and chopped the margin to eight (55-47) on two Scott free throws with 3:22 left but Edwards scored seven down the stretch for the final margin.

Marshall will be back in action Saturday at UAB (10-9, 3-5) for a 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT tip. The Blazers dropped a 63-49 home decision to Western Kentucky Thursday evening.

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