BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Marshall's historic road problems continued Saturday afternoon with a 75-61 loss to Alabama-Birmingham at Bartow Arena.
The Thundering Herd's two-game road trip finished no better than it started Wednesday night at Tulane. In that game, the Herd fell behind by 24 points in the first half in a 91-75 loss.
This time around, the Herd "only" trailed by 13, 38-25, at the half. Another big run late in the half was the culprit again, 17-4 over a stretch of about eight minutes.
Marshall (10-14 overall, 3-6 Conference USA) didn't get closer than 10 points in the second half, and the Blazers (11-13, 3-6) led 72-50 with 5:33 left. The Herd pressed its way to an 11-0 run to make it 72-61 with 2:59 left, but UAB's Jordan Swing answered with a rally-killing 3-pointer.
"We fell behind early, they made 3s, 9 of 16, we didn't defend the 3-point shot," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "Getting outrebounded by eight, still not making enough plays defensively to change the game, get in a better position to win."
Four Blazers scored in double figures, with Rod Rucker scoring 18 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Preston Purifoy had 15 points, Swing 13 and Robert Williams 12.
Once again, the Herd struggled to stop the 3-pointers, as the Blazers hit nine in 16 attempts. The Herd went just 3 for 14, with Birmingham native D.D. Scarver going dry in his two attempts - the first game this season he has failed to sink one this season. Scarver went 0 for 7 from any distance, finishing with just one point.
The Herd also was outrebounded 37-29, with the Blazers scoring 15 second-half points off 16 offensive boards. The Herd also turned it over 17 times, though its second-half pressure forced UAB into 20.
Marshall's DeAndre Kane led all scorers with 23 points, with Elijah Pittman adding 15. Nigel Spikes had 10 rebounds and four blocks but scored just six points and had five turnovers. Dennis Tinnon (eight points, nine rebounds) and Robert Goff (four points, two rebounds in just nine minutes) fouled out.
The Herd is 0-9 in "true" road games and 0-12 against Division I opponents anywhere outside of Huntington. The last time a Marshall team started so poorly on the road was 2004-05, when the Herd lost the first nine before beating Ball State.
In five C-USA road games this season, the Herd has lost by an average margin of 19.6 points. More telling, its average maximum in-game deficit is 26.4 points.
Mercifully, the Herd plays twice at home next week - at 7 p.m. Wednesday against C-USA cellar-dweller Rice and at 8 p.m. next Saturday against league-leading Memphis.
UAB 75, MARSHALL 61
Marshall (10-14, 3-6 C-USA)
M FG FT R A P
Dennis Tinnon 36 4-10 0-1 8 1 9
Elijah Pittman 31 4-8 5-7 2 1 15
Nigel Spikes 34 3-3 0-0 10 1 6
D.D. Scarver 19 0-1 1-2 1 0 1
DeAndre Kane 40 9-15 5-10 3 3 23