HOUSTON - Marshall ended its 12-game nightmare on the road with a wire-to-wire 73-63 win over Rice Thursday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Thundering Herd (7-13, 1-4) won the battle of winless teams in Conference USA and won its first game away from Huntington since an 82-70 win at Central Florida on Feb. 20, 2013. The result also snapped Marshall's four-game losing streak.
MU scored the first eight points and never trailed, led by Ryan Taylor's 18 points and eight rebounds. Kareem Canty, who came off the bench, scored 18 points with seven assists.
Canty hit all eight of his free throws, and that was contagious - the Herd went 22 of 29 from the line.
Rice (5-13, 0-5) got 22 points and 17 rebounds from 6-foot-9, 265-pound Sean Obi, but that wasn't enough to stop the Owls' slide from reaching eight games.
Shawn Smith started Marshall's scoring with a three-point play on a tip-in, and TyQuane Goard followed with a jumper and Taylor hit a 3-pointer for that 8-0 lead. With Chris Thomas finishing with a jumper, the Herd took a 33-22 lead into halftime.
Obi sparked the Owls early in the second half, hitting three buckets and assisting on another to cut the Herd's lead to 34-31. The margin was still three points, 38-35, when Canty and Taylor hit successive 3-pointers to make it 44-35.
"It was a big stretch," Taylor said. "We were tested because they came back and got it within three. But Kareem hit a big-time shot and I hit a big-time shot, and we pulled away from there."
Rice had 13:46 left to do something about it, but the Owls didn't get closer than nine points until Marcus Jackson's 3-pointer made it 69-63 with 18 seconds left. Canty and Taylor closed the game out with two free throws apiece.
Marshall outshot Rice 45.8 percent to 42.4 percent, but that was a bit misleading. The Herd shut down the Owls at the 3-point arc, forcing them into a 5-for-25 night. It was a tough night for shooters Austin Remljak and Max Guercy, who combined to go 3 of 14.
The Herd's next assignment is much tougher, as it travels to Louisiana Tech for an 8 p.m. bout Saturday. The Bulldogs (16-4, 4-1) lost last weekend to Southern Mississippi, but those two squads are tied atop C-USA. The Bulldogs routed Charlotte 80-60 Thursday night.
MARSHALL 73, RICE 63
Marshall (7-13, 1-4)
Min FG FT R A P
Smith 21 3-5 2-3 5 1 8
Goard 33 2-7 4-4 3 1 8
Taylor 33 5-10 5-6 8 2 18
Boykins 29 4-5 0-1 1 2 9
Manning 19 0-6 0-0 1 1 0
Canty 32 4-8 8-8 2 7 18
Thomas 19 3-5 0-1 2 1 7