CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fortunately for this snakebitten Marshall team, the time turnaround and the 114-mile travel distance to today's game at Tulane were short.
Thundering Herd players need today's 2 p.m. game at Tulane to get the loss Friday night to Southern Mississippi out of their heads. If they can't get forget the heartbreaking 60-57 setback, they face a long afternoon at Devlinson Field House.
Tulane (12-11, 4-4 Conference USA) also played a close game Friday night, but pulled off a 64-63 win over Charlotte. Jay Hook provided the margin with a free throw with 1.1 seconds left, and the Green Wave survived a nearly perfect half-court shot by Pierria' Henry at the buzzer.
Hook, a 6-foot-3 junior, finished with 18 points and sophomore Louis Dabney, also a 6-3 guard, led all scorers with 19. The two combined to shoot 12 of 21 from the floor, with the rest of the squad going 8 of 24.
Correspondingly, Dabney (17.0 points per game) and Hook (14.4) are two of the team's top three scorers, with 6-foot freshman Jonathan Stewart averaging 14.9 points and 4.1 assists. Six-foot-6 junior Trey Drye averages 6.6 rebounds on a team that is slightly below even on the boards for the season.
Marshall (8-16, 2-7) has lost three of its last four, the last one as tough to take as any. The Herd jumped out to a 16-3 lead and had another 13-point advantage (37-24) in the first minute of the second half.
But the Herd slowly disintegrated on both ends, and the second-half numbers show it.
The Herd cooled off noticeably under Southern Miss' half-court pressure, shooting just 33.3 percent. The hot start from the 3-point line - four straight makes to start the contest - were long forgotten with a 2-of-8 effort after halftime. The Herd committed eight turnovers, including back-to-back shot-clock violations down the stretch.