Marshall moves on from Southern Miss beatdown
HUNTINGTON - Marshall University’s 50-point loss Saturday at Southern Miss was the Thundering Herd men’s basketball team’s worst beating since losing by 41 at Ohio State in the 2016-17 season.
It came close to a 56-point home court walloping Southern Miss put on Marshall in 2012-13.
“When you come in and you push your foot down on the accelerator and there’s nothing left it’s a tough one,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said following the Herd’s third straight loss in six days and its fifth game in a 10-day period. “I think I might have gotten a lesson of paying attention to the schedule.”
Marshall (12-9 overall) was first in the Conference USA standings at the beginning of the week and is now fifth, but only one game from the top spot. North Texas, UAB and UTSA all won Saturday and are tied at the top with 6-2 league records. Old Dominion is next at 6-3 followed by the Herd.
UTEP visits Marshall at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Cam Henderson Center before UTSA comes in for a 7 p.m. Saturday contest.
“We just have to keep our head up,” D’Antoni said. “That’s one loss, it doesn’t count as three. It’s one and we’re 5-3 in the conference. We come home and I hope our crowd will get out there and support these kids and see if we can’t pull off a couple. That would be 7-3 and we’re still in real good stead.”
Marshall started Saturday’s game horribly and it didn’t improve.
Tim Rowe of the Golden Eagles, a 6-foot-11 junior center scoring six points per game, surpassed his average with 11 in the first four-plus minutes. Southern Miss finished a 19-1 scoring spree with a 31-6 lead and there was still 11:36 left in the opening period.
Southern Miss was ahead at halftime, 48-31, and extended the margin all the way to 97-44 with 4:47 to go.
“Obviously, that’s one of the best games we’ve played since I’ve been here,” said Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler in his fifth season. “A lot of people would want to talk about the points, but the thing I was most impressed with was that no matter how great a start we had, we continued to defend. It’s hard to do. Even in the second half when the lead extended, the way we played defense is a credit to our guys.”
Southern Miss connected on 64.6 percent of its shots in the program’s first 100-point game since the 2015-16 season at Marshall. Sophomore guard LaDavius Draine came off the bench to lead the Southern Miss scoring with 18. Senior guard Cortez Edwards scored 15 and had 10 assists. Leonard Harper-Baker, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, added 15 points and collected 14 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles had 30 assists on 42 field goals with senior point guard Tyree Griffin delivering 15.
Marshall had its lowest score this season, its lowest field goal percentage at 25.0 and its poorest 3-point shooting performance at 7-for-35 for 20.0 percent.
Senior guards Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks and 6-7 sophomore forward Darius George each scored 11 points for Marshall.
Elmore established two Marshall career records during the game. He took over first place from Greg White (1977-81) for assists with 703 and is first for 3-point field goals, passing Austin Loop (2013-17) with 295.
The Herd made 14 of 19 free throws, but that was the only statistic it led. Southern Miss had advantages on points in the paint (46-12), points off turnovers (18-6), second-chance points (11-6), fast break points (14-2) and bench scoring (35-18).
“The second thing is that going into the game, we would have to keep them off the free throw line,” Sadler said. “They score 18 points a game there, but they had just 14 and some of those were late. The biggest thing is we knew they couldn’t score inside the lane. They had just 12 today. Jon Elmore is a guy who can get guys easy baskets, and we didn’t give them any down there.”
Marshall’s next opponent, UTEP, played a late Saturday game at home and downed Charlotte, 57-53. UTEP (7-12, 2-6) had a 23-19 halftime lead and held on by making five foul shots in the final minute. Evan Gilyard topped the Miners with 13 points. Nigel Hawkins scored 12 and Paul Thomas 11. Hawkins and Thomas were UTEP’s leading rebounders with eight and seven respectively.
UTEP snapped a three-game losing streak.