Marshall basketball: With game on the line, Herd falls short
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Free throws - missed ones, to be more specific - sent the Marshall men's basketball team tumbling to its second consecutive overtime loss.
The Thundering Herd missed nine of its first 10 from the line, and made just eight of 24 for the game, while Stephen F. Austin used three straight free throws to force extra time and finally put away Marshall 80-73 on Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center.
"You leave 16 points on the foul line, and that's not probably counting the front ends of one-and-ones," Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said. "Eight for 24 is deplorable, unacceptable and obviously ... we missed them early, missed them late and missed them in between.
"A poor job free-throw shooting by us tonight," he said. "It cost us the game."
This is the second straight game where missed free throws did in the Herd. DeVince Boykins missed two at the end of regulation against Morehead State that would have given Marshall the win. Morehead made 14 of 14 from the line in overtime and Marshall made just two of four to fall 102-94.
A 3-pointer by Lumberjacks senior Jacob Parker and a layup by sophomore Trey Pinkney gave Stephen F. Austin a 72-67 lead in overtime, and proved to be enough to hold the Herd (2-2) at bay. Marshall got as close as 75-73 on an Elijah Pittman 3-pointer with 37.4 seconds left. But Parker, who led all scorers with 31 points, iced the game with a fast-break dunk.
Lumberjacks senior Desmond Haymon sent the game into overtime, when he threw up a flailing 3-point attempt with time running out in regulation, and TyQuane Goard grabbed him from behind on the follow-through. That put Haymon on the line and he sunk all three free throws in the face of a loud Henderson Center crowd.
"I just know I had confidence at the line," Haymon said. "I'm a senior and couldn't let my team down because, if I would have missed one, I knew it was the end of the game. So I had to come out and stay confident as a senior and a leader."
Herrion said the plan was for someone to foul Haymon at half-court and put him at the free throw line to try for two points instead of three. Boykins did that successfully with 7 seconds to go.
Marshall went from missing free throws in the first half to not shooting them at all for much of the second half. The Herd didn't shoot its first from the line until 3:01 remained in the second, but made six of 12 from there.
The Herd took a 32-30 lead into halftime that could have been considerably larger, if not for an atrocious 20 minutes of free-throw shooting. The only Marshall player to make a shot from the line was Ryan Taylor, who completed a three-point play with 2:59 gone in the game to pull the Herd into a 3-3 tie.
Tamron Manning missed his lone free-throw attempt of the first half, while Pittman missed all three of his and Chris Thomas missed all five of his. The Lumberjacks fared far better, making five of six of their first-half free throws. A 5-0 run in the final 3 minutes of the half gave Stephen F. Austin (3-1) a short 30-28 lead, but Taylor and Thomas each answered with a layup to regain the advantage for the Herd.
Marshall made 27 of 53 shots in regulation (50.9 percent), but made just two of 10 shots in overtime and was outrebounded 47-37 for the game. Pittman led the Herd with 21 points, but making just one of seven free throws, while Kareem Canty scored 14 with seven assists.
Parker added 11 rebounds to his career-high 31 points, making 12 of 15 shots from the floor, including several dunks.
"We just had a lot of defensive breakdowns," Manning said. "He got open on a lot of slips, fake screens and cuts to the basket. So it was mainly our fault, just a lot of defensive breakdowns."
Marshall returns to the court at noon Saturday to host the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.