Saturday, 09 February 2013 21:00

Herd road woes continue with 75-61 at UAB

Written by  WOODY WOODRUM, HI Publisher


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For college basketball teams, life on the road is half of all your conference games.
It involves being gone three to six days at a time, living out of a travel bag, eating in restaurants for every meal, poor sleeping habits and playing in foreign arenas where most everyone is rooting against you — this can make your life miserable as a player and coach. 
All teams struggle with road trips, and Marshall tried something new this year — going from point A to point B in the sleeper bus, instead of flying home Thursday morning and turning around and flying back out Friday afternoon for a two-game road trip.
The Herd went from Hattiesburg, Miss to Memphis, then this week went New Orleans to Birmingham.
Chartered flights would be best — as Memphis, Tulsa and many other Conference USA teams can do — but the Marshall Thundering Herd has always counted every penny.
This year's trips gave the team time together on an extended trip, but also cost the players four complete days out of class twice in the last three weeks.
Unfortunately, it did not result in a single true road win, but the Herd is now 0-for-9 on the road, and just 1-11 away from the Cam Henderson Center this year, and that win was at Hofstra over a Division II University of District of Columbia back in November.
Once again, the Herd’s lack of rebounding and playing good defense at the three-point line led to a league worst ninth loss on the road — only 5-17 Rice is close, with an 0-7 mark away from home, 0-10 in all games away for the Owls being lost.
Perhaps that bodes well for a bounce-back, when Marshall hosts Rice this Wednesday.
On Saturday in Birmingham, Ala., Marshall junior guard DeAndre Kane scored a game-high 23 points, 18 of those coming in the second half, but the Marshall men’s basketball team fell to UAB 75-61 Saturday afternoon at Gene Bartow Arena.
It was the second-straight loss for the Thundering Herd (10-14, 3-6 Conference USA), and the fifth loss in the last six games for the staggering Marshall men’s team.
“We fell behind again,” said Marshall Coach Tom Herrion, of the team trailing 38-25 at halftime, and down by as much as 22 points in the second half. 
“They made threes. We obviously did poor job of guarding the three-point shot. 
“We are still not making enough plays defensively to change the game and put us in a better position to win.”
UAB (11-13, 3-6) shot 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from three-point range, the highest by a Marshall opponent this season for a tea,who entered the game hitting only .336 from three on the season, eighth of 12 in C-USA. 
The Herd was just 3-of-14 for 21.4 percent from three, with Kane going 0-for-4 and D.D. Scarver, who was 1-of-10 players in the nation with a three in every game this season, shooting 0-for-2 from three and 0-of-7 for the game in front of over 100 family members and friends in his home town.
Scarver scored only one point, his worst collegiate outing at Marshall.
“Right now we are not getting enough consistent play out of guys,” Herrion said. 
“One game it’s one guy and one game it’s another guy. We just aren’t getting enough consistency.”
Kane’s 23 points came on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, meaning he was 9-of-11 shooting inside the three-line.
Once again, however, Kane — continuing to heal a broken shooting hand from a break back in December — struggled at the free throw line, hitting only 5-of-10 at the stripe.
Kane led the Herd with three steals and had three assists against three turnovers.
With 23 points, Kane passed Tyrone Phillips (1,360 points, 1989-93) for 20th on Marshall’s all-time scoring list with 1,369 points. 
Kane is now nine points away from passing by a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame and the Marshall Hall of Fame, Hal Greer (1955-58) who is No. 19 in scoring for the Herd with 1,377 points over three seasons (when freshmen were not eliglible).
Kane also broke a tie with Shawn Moore (1992-95) for career steals, as three moved Kane to 115 steals (No. 15) in his career.
Up next is LaVerne Evans, with 116 steals from 1980-84, at No. 14 on the all-time list, then at No. 13 is Corny Jackson (117, 1998-2001) and at No. 12 is Harold Simmons (118, 1989-93).
Senior center Nigel Spikes continued to be a force on the defensive end with four blocks, six points and a team-high 10 rebounds, but did have a team-worst five turnovers.
Spikes also passed by Phillips (102 blocks, 1989-93) and Spikes’ former teammate, NBA D-League player Tyler Wilkerson (103, 2006-10) — now with the Austin Toros.
106 blocks for Spikes moves him to seventh all-time at Marshall, and up next is Mark Patton (2002-06) in sixth  at MU with 111 career blocks.
Junior forward Elijah Pittman scored 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-5 from three-point range. Scarver, a Birmingham native, had his lowest scoring output of the season with one point.
Marshall trailed by just two points, 19-17 with 9:16 left in the first half, but the Herd then went nearly eight minutes (7:53) without a field goal and UAB led 35-22 with just under a minute to play in the half. 
Senior Dennis Tinnon, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds, scored five in the final 50 seconds — including 1-of-2 from three — as the Herd trailed 38-25 at halftime.
Tinnon and fellow senior Robert Goff (four points, two rebounds and a block) each fouled out of the game.
Marshall actually got to the line more than UAB, hitting 14-of-24 (58 percent) while the Blazers were 12-of-19 (63 percent), way under their average of .735, second-best in the league.
UAB’s lead reached 22 points, its largest of the game, 72-50 with 5:33 remaining. 
An 11-0 Marshall run made the final score closer than the game was.
Jordan Swing, a junior transfer from Western Kentucky, was one of four Blazers to score in double figures with 13 points, coming off the bench.
UAB has won 3-of-4 in C-USA play after an 0-for-5 start in league play for first year Blazers Coach Jerod Haase. 
Juco Rod Rucker recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. 
Junior Preston Purifory, who averages 7.4 points per game, scored 15 and junior Robert Williams had 12.
Marshall lost the rebounding edge 37-29, the fourth-straight game it got out-rebounded. 
The Herd also had 17 turnovers, but forced the Blazers into 20, and scored 25 points off of those turnovers.
Marshall blocked six shots and had nine steals, while UAB had ten steals, but 19 assists on 27 made baskets.
Also for Marshall, freshman Tamron Manning had five assists and no turnovers in 21 minutes of playing time, scoring one point.
Fortunately for the Herd, Marshall will play three of its next four games at home beginning Wednesday against Rice at 7 p.m.
Unfortunately, the other teams (outside of cellar-dwelling Rice) who are coming to the Cam Henderson Center are Memphis, a 73-72, well-played loss for MU at FedEx Forum, UAB and Southern Miss — who beat the Herd at home by 56-points, 102-46, in Hattiesburg.
The Herd also has road trips left to UCF (a 75-71 Herd win in Huntington), to Houston and to East Carolina (a 77-56 MU win in Huntington) before the C-USA Tournament, starting March 13 in Tulsa, Okla.
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The latest Marshall went in a year before earning a true road win was in 1970, when the Herd of Coach Stewart Way (9-14 that year) in 1969-70 by winning the final game of the year against Western Michigan, 125-98, on Feb. 28, going 1-9 in true road games, and also lost to St. Peter’s in Madison Square Garden that year.
Coach Bob Daniels team went 1-11 on the road in 1974-75, when Marshall’s only win was over Morris Harvey College in the Eddie King Gym in Charleston (today’s University of Charleston) on Feb. 1, and MU finished 13-13.
Marshall was 1-12 on the road under Coach Ron Jirsa in 2004-05, a 6-22 season, when the Herd won at Ball State on Feb. 6, 90-81, in Muncie, Ind. 
Coach Dwight Freeman matched that 1-12 mark in 1993-94, when the Herd’s only road win was at The Citadel on Jan. 17, 83-79, and the Herd finished 9-18.
Woody Woodrum is the Publisher of Herd Insider, and comments may be sent to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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