HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - If horrendous foul shooting was not enough Thursday night, Marshall committed a horrendous foul in the final second of regulation.
The result was the same: The Thundering Herd turned a good win into an agonizing overtime loss. This time, Stephen F. Austin brought an 80-73 victory back to Nacogdoches, Texas.
The collapse came four days after Marshall squandered a 21-point lead and lost 102-94 at Morehead State. This time, the Herd only led by eight with 6:53 left, and by four with 2:18 remaining.
Neither loss tastes better than the other.
"A bitter defeat," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "First of all, you leave 15 or 16 points on the foul line ... 8 of 24 is deplorable, unacceptable, we missed them early and we missed them late and in between, and it cost us the game."
The Herd (2-2) missed four front ends of the one-and-bonus to compound its charity-stripe woes. The Lumberjacks (3-1) outrebounded the Herd 47-37 just to compound matters.
It didn't help the Herd that SFA's Jacob Parker threw in (sometimes down) a career-high 31 points, accompanied by 11 rebounds. His four dunks bolstered his 12-of-15 shooting.
With Marshall up 59-53 at the 4:11 mark, Parker's reverse dunk got the rally going. MU's Ryan Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Desmond Haymon sliced through defenders for a layup that made it 59-57.
MU's Kareem Canty and SFA's Nikola Gajic traded a pair of free throws, and then Canty missed a driving layup, with the rebound going out of bounds to SFA. At the other end, Thomas Walkup scored a three-point play to put the Lumberjacks up 62-61 with 1:16 left.
Elijah Pittman, who led the Herd with 21 points, was fouled on a 3-point try, but only hit the third free throw to tie the score. Then Tamron Manning tapped the ball off the official and recovered it, scoring at the other end to give Marshall a 64-62 lead.
The scored remained the same through three missed free throws - even SFA missed one - and then Manning blocked a Gajic 3-pointer in the corner, a gutsy play with 12 seconds left.
But Canty couldn't put the game away, missing the second of two free throws to leave the score at 65-62. DeVince Boykins prevented the Lumberjacks from even attempting a 3-pointer at the other end by fouling Haymon before he could set up the play. Haymon hit both to cut the margin to 65-64.
After Canty hit two free throws for a 67-64 lead, it happened. Haymon struggled against TyQuan Goard and another defender, got around Goard and hoisted an off-balance 3. Inexplicably, Goard pushed him in the back with 0.7 seconds left.
Haymon hit all three foul shots, and the game went to overtime.
"We did not intend to foul him that deep on the shot with less than a second on the clock in regulation," Herrion said. "The plan was to foul as we did the prior possession, and we did it very well, at halfcourt. A poor execution on our part, and I take full responsibility for that."
The overtime was all Stephen F. Austin, as Parker started the period with his third 3-pointer and Gajic fired a dagger with 1:47 left, making it 75-69.
The free-throw shooting malaise started early in the first half and the Lumberjacks ruled the boards, but the Herd still led at halftime 32-30. Marshall shot 1 of 10 from the line in the first 20 minutes.
A 9-2 run, punctuated by two flashy Canty assists and a Goard putback, gave the Herd a 23-17 lead. But Canty was whistled for a technical foul, which resulted in a four-point play, and the Herd later went more than three minutes without scoring. But it survived with defense, holding the Lumberjacks to four points and still leading 26-25.
SFA took a 30-28 lead on a Parker basket, but Ryan Taylor and Chris Thomas gave MU its halftime lead with athletic baskets - Taylor off a spin move and Taylor simply long-stepping it around a defender.
Marshall returns to action at noon Saturday at Cam Henderson Center, taking on North Carolina-Wilmington.
Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 80, MARSHALL 73
Stephen F. Austin (3-1)
Min FG FT R A P
Gajic 30 4-8 3-4 5 2 13