Marshall men's basketball: Ohio throttles Herd, 94-57
ATHENS, Ohio – Apparently, the Marshall men's basketball team found a trap door at rock bottom.
Days after losing to a sub-.500 MEAC team at home, the Thundering Herd trailed by as many as 33 in the first half and slogged to a turnover-filled 94-57 loss to Ohio at the Convocation Center. It was Marshall's worst loss to Ohio, beating a 29-point loss on Jan. 30, 1957, and the worst loss of Herd Coach Tom Herrion's career.
"When you get your butt whipped like that, it's just time to get on the bus and get home," Herrion said.
Junior guard DeAndre Kane made his first appearance since Marshall's win over Coppin State, coming back from a broken hand, but that wasn't enough to stave off 26 turnovers, including 19 in the first half.
Those turnovers led to the majority of Ohio's offense. The Bobcats scored 51 points off turnovers.
The Herd (7-8) will enter Conference USA play Wednesday at 7 p.m. versus Tulsa on a three-game losing streak, each loss crushing it its own way. Marshall stayed close with Kentucky for a while before being engulfed by the Wildcats' blue-chippers in an 82-54 loss, at that point the worst in Herrion's career. Against Delaware State, the Herd could score just 17 first-half points and lost 53-51 to a team missing its only double-digit scorer.
Against the Bobcats (9-5), the Herd never was in it. Marshall fell behind by double digits less than five minutes into the game and fell further back as the seconds ticked on.
"We came out really flat," senior forward Dennis Tinnon said, "the flattest we've ever come out before."
The Bobcats were able to cut into the paint and behind Marshall post players with little resistance. Ohio hit 16 of its first 18 shots and sliced through the lane for several dunks. The Bobcats finished with 38 points in the paint, 26 of those coming in the first half. Ohio made its first 14 shots inside the 3-point line.
"A lot of those points came off turnovers," Kane said. "The dunks came off turnovers. You can't defend on turnovers. Nobody's back. They run a lot of pick and roll plays and a lot of twist plays where you've got to hedge, get back up there and hedge. Guys get tired. A lot of things didn't go our way tonight, but we'll get back at it."
The Herd cut down on its turnovers in the second half, but by then the Bobcats were coasting. D.J. Cooper set a school record with 17 assists, 13 of them in the first half, and Nick Kellogg scored a game-high 22 points, including hitting five of nine 3-pointers.
D.D. Scarver led Marshall with 13 points and Jamir Hanner added 12 by going 8-for-9 from the free throw line.
Kane made his surprise return to the lineup, coming in for starting point guard Tamron Manning less than a minute into the game. Herrion said his hand checked out OK earlier in the week and he practiced Thursday and Friday. It was his first game since Dec. 8, a four-game absence, and it showed at times. Kane fouled out with 7:46 left in the game, scoring six points on 3-of-10 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists and four turnovers.
Kane was wearing a protective cover on his right hand and said he didn't want to use that as an excuse for his play.
"It still hurts," Kane said. "It's been three weeks, four weeks tomorrow. I can't really grip the ball, but there's no excuses. I'm out here playing."
Only two players who saw the floor for Marshall – center J.P. Kambola and guard Chris Martin – did not record a turnover Saturday. The other 10 each had at least one, and had a total of just 10 assists. That's been a problem for several games, and Herrion said that was one of the toughest aspects of Saturday's game to stomach.
"I'm very disappointed," he said. "Our inability to take care of the basketball at every position, pretty much every player, was inexplicable to a certain extent and unacceptable. We've got to get back, regroup and wipe the slate clean."
-- Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.