TULSA, Okla. - Oh yes, it is a new season for Marshall's basketball team. Tonight, that team had better turn in a new effort against Tulane.
The old one will not do. A repeat will signal the end of the Thundering Herd's difficult season by halftime.
Marshall begins its campaign to ease the memory of 18 losses, some more dismal than others, when it battles the Green Wave tonight in the first round of the Conference USA tournament at the BOK Center. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. EDT.
In New Orleans on Feb. 6, the Herd lost 91-75. It was the fifth-largest margin among MU's 18 defeats, but it rated higher in the stink-it-up scale.
To hear a few tales, it ranked down there with that 102-46 thing at Southern Mississippi.
"We were so bad. That's stating the obvious," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "Give them credit, we've got to play them at a more highly competitive level in nature defensively. I thought we got pushed around, I thought they were more physical than us. We had a stretch at the end of the first half where the game got away from us."
You could say that. The Green Wave went on a 19-3 run in the final five minutes, after taking an eight-point lead to begin with. By the time the humbled-again Herd fled the Devlin Fieldhouse court at halftime, the count was 59-35.
"We let those guys do whatever they wanted," said senior forward Dennis Tinnon. "We let them get open 3s, and they penetrated so much. From 'one' to 'five,' we did a terrible job."
In that first half, the Green Wave hit half its field goals and half its 16 3-point tries, and its dynamic trio of Josh Davis, Ricky Tarrant and Jordan Callahan tore the Herd up - Tarrant 14 points, Callahan 12 points on four 3-pointers and Davis 13 points and eight rebounds.
If you really care, Davis finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, one of nine double-doubles yielded by the Herd this season.
That helped Davis average a double-double on the season, 17.5 points and a league-high 10.3 rebounds, numbers that got him picked for the first unit of the All-Conference USA team.
It's not out of the question for him to be named conference player of the year, which is unveiled today.