HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Technical difficulties Wednesday night prevented Marshall fans from watching their team play Conference USA co-leader Southern Mississippi, but they were done a favor.
A big, big, big favor.
In a season of jaw-dropping road routs, the Thundering Herd was smashed by historic proportions by the Golden Eagles, 102-46. It was Marshall's worst rout since one of identical margin on Feb. 14, 1976 at DePaul.
A check of the MU media guide reveals only two more lopsided losses. Cincinnati Church of Christ is credited with identical 68-10 wins over Marshall College, then a two-year school, on Jan. 29, 1913, and on an undetermined date during the 1913-14 season.
The 56-point margin was also a high in Conference USA history, topping Cincinnati's 48-point win (105-57) over Tulane on Jan. 29, 2001. It was an emphatic punctuation to Southern Miss' 11th straight conference win at Reed Green Coliseum, 23rd in a row overall.
Conversely, Marshall is 0-6 in "true" road games, and 0-9 against Division I opponents away from Cam Henderson Center.
And this loss was the worst, by any measure.
"We did not compete from the tap to the buzzer, not one man, not one guy," Marshall coach Tom Herrion said in a very brief postgame radio interview. "That was the most disappointing performance since I've been a head coach."
The carnage started right after Elijah Pittman opened the game with a 3-point goal to give Marshall (9-10, 2-2) its only lead. Southern Miss (16-4, 5-0) scored the next 21 points over the next 7:17, while the Herd committed seven turnovers, missed three shots and two free throws.
A Nigel Spikes dunk snapped the MU drought, but the Eagles then scored the next 12 points. The margin mushroomed to 47-7 with 6:06 left, and the Herd didn't reach double figures until the 3:05 mark, with a D.D. Scarver 3-pointer. The halftime score was 53-17.
Turnovers were the major factor, as it has been in the Herd's road disasters. The Eagles scored 39 points off a mind-boggling, season-high 31 turnovers, forcing DeAndre Kane into a career-high 11 miscues. Southern Miss had a whopping 20 steals, easily more than Marshall's field goals (13).
Marshall didn't do well in any other facet. The Eagles outrebounded the Herd 34-23, 19-6 in the first half. Southern Miss picked up 14 second-chance points, part of its 46 in the paint.
In fact, MU's leading rebounder was "team," which had seven. The Herd also clanked its way to a 13-of-33 effort from the foul line.
And Southern Miss certainly had its way with Marshall's offense. The Eagles shot 63.2 percent from the floor, hitting 11 of 20 from 3-point range. They hit eight of those in 13 attempts in the first half.
Jerrold Brooks led Southern Miss' five double-digit scorers with 20 points, with Dwayne Davis adding 19, Rashard McGill 13, Daveon Boardingham 12 and Michael Craig 10.
Pittman scored 16 to lead the Herd, with Kane adding 13. Marshall shot 33.3 percent from the floor.
Spikes and Dennis Tinnon did not start after arriving late at a team meeting. Robert Goff and Yous Mbao started the game, the first start in Mbao's career.
Southern Miss 102, Marshall 46
MARSHALL (9-1, 2-2 C-USA)
M FG FT R A P
Robert Goff 7 0-0 0-2 0 0 0
Elijah Pittman 31 4-12 6-9 1 1 16
Yous Mbao 6 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
D.D. Scarver 24 1-5 1-2 2 3 4
DeAndre Kane 36 4-10 1-4 4 2 13
Chris Martin 10 0-3 0-0 1 0 0