SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Overwhelmed by 56.6 percent shooting, Marshall lost its Conference USA basketball opener 90-81 to league newcomer Texas-San Antonio Thursday night.
The Thundering Herd (6-10, 0-1) not only lost its 11th in a row away from Huntington, it did so against a bottom-10 team in Division I, as ranked by several Rating Percentage Index simulations. The Roadrunners (5-9, 1-0) had suffered seven double-digit losses, five by 25 or more points.
Before a gathering of 813 at UTSA's Convocation Center, the Roadrunners stretched a 41-40 halftime lead into double digits and weren't threatened in the final five minutes.
The Roadrunners only tried nine 3-point shots but hit seven. Keon Lewis, returning from a three-game injury absence, hit his three long shots as part of his 23 points. Hyjii Thomas scored 14, Phillip Jones added 11 and Devon Agusi 10.
"Our defense was poor, very poor to say the least," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "They scored it every way you can imagine ... left shooters open, which we didn't want to do. They drove it on us, they posted it against us, second-chance points. A very poor defensive performance for us, giving up 90 points.
"We did not defend in any aspect of the game."
Marshall's largest lead was five points, 30-25, on a jumper by Kareem Canty with 6:21 left in the first half. Those were two of Canty's game-high 26 points, achieved on 9-of-22 shooting.
From there, UTSA went on a 7-1 run, punctuated by a Lewis 3-pointer. A Tyler Wood free throw gave UTSA a 41-40 lead at the half.
The Herd took three one-point leads early in the second half, and was tied at 61 on two Shawn Smith free throws with 11:15 left. But Lewis scored seven points in the next six minutes, leading a 15-run that gave UTSA a 76-65 lead and, essentially, the game. Marshall never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Besides the defense, there were other disappointments in the Herd's play. MU only outrebounded the Roadrunners 37-36, thanks in part to the fouling out of Ryan Taylor and TyQuane Goard, and only had a 15-14 advantage in turnovers forced.
Shawn Smith scored 16 points for the Herd, with Chris Thomas adding 11 before fouling out. The Herd shot 44.6 percent from the floor and hit only 17 of 29 free throws, 58.6 percent. Tamron Manning, considered a game-time decision, played 24 minutes and scored two points on 1-of-6 shooting. Seven-footer Yous Mbao (knee) did not play.
Marshall moves westward to take on Texas-El Paso at 9:05 p.m. Saturday. The Miners, who have dealt this week with the dismissal of three players for betting on sporting events, lost 73-68 Thursday night to Charlotte.
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO 90, MARSHALL 81
Min FG FT R A F PTS
Canty 38 9-22 4-4 1-3 3 1 26
Thomas 31 3-8 4-7 3-6 0 5 11
Boykins 24 3-4 0-1 1-3 0 2 7
Goard 16 1-2 3-6 3-3 0 5 5
Taylor 19 3-8 2-3 3-8 1 5 8