Turnovers haunt Herd in loss
RUSTON, La. - By the time CBS Sports Network was able to switch to Marshall's game at Louisiana Tech, the Thundering Herd was already down 17-2.
The Herd would as soon had the entire game blacked out Saturday night, as the Bulldogs took that lead and cruised to a 98-77 victory before an announced 7,355 at the Thomas Assembly Center - the most since the Karl Malone days in the mid-1980s.
Marshall fell to 7-14 overall, 1-5 in Conference USA, and there was no doubt - especially when the Herd committed 17 first-half turnovers. For well into the first 20 minutes, the Bulldogs (17-4, 5-1) had more made field goals than Marshall had attempts - and the Herd was shooting the ball upwards of 60 percent.
In fact, the Herd shot 50.9 percent percent from the floor and 17 of 23 from the line, and even outrebounded the Bulldogs 37-31. And it didn't matter, as the league co-leaders took a 57-39 halftime lead and weren't threatened afterward.
"We gave it to them on a platter in the first five minutes," said coach Tom Herrion. "We're so weak with the ball, careless turnovers. Spotted them 20, got the crowd involved. They made a lot of 3s.
"When we handled the pressure, we got any shot we wanted. Clearly, turnovers were a huge, huge contributing factor in spotting this the team the big lead."
Alex Hamilton led the assault with 24 points, Kenyon McNeail scored 19 including three first-half 3-pointers and Kenneth "Speedy" Smith had 17 points, 13 assists and six steals. The Bulldogs hit six of the first eight from behind the arc, compounding the Herd's failure to hold onto the ball.
Marshall finished with 22 turnovers, including six by Ryan Taylor and five by Kareem Canty. Taylor did manage a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Chris Thomas added 13.
The Herd made one impressive rally, scoring eight in a row to cut the lead to 21-18. But the Bulldogs went on a 13-2 run, fueled by two more turnovers. Louisiana Tech maintained a lead of 17 or more throughout the second half.