Marshall men's basketball: Herd loses thriller to Arkansas State, 83-82
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – While it stormed back at the end, it was a dismal beginning that did in the Marshall men's basketball team Saturday night against Arkansas State.
The Thundering Herd fell behind quickly and battled back twice from double-digit deficits, but a last-second 3-point attempt by freshman point guard Kareem Canty missed the mark and Marshall fell to the Red Wolves, 83-82, at the Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall (5-7) has now dropped five of its last six games and five straight against Division I competition.
"We lost the game in the first five minutes in the game," Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said.
The Herd pulled into a tie for the last time with 41 seconds left. Ryan Taylor drained a 3-pointer off a Chris Thomas pass that erased what had been an 18-point ASU lead. But the only other basket Marshall made from the floor after that was the tip-in off Canty's final miss that produced the final score.
"When I caught it, obviously I'm not the tallest guy, and I saw that dude who was 6-5 on me," Canty said. "I couldn't really see the rim. I had to just try to get a rhythm shot. It felt good when it left my hand. I just shot it too hard."
ASU (6-4) made one shot from the floor in those last 41 seconds, a Brandon Reed 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. That was the 12th from beyond the arc the Red Wolves made Saturday.
"They made shots and we did a poor job guarding it," Herrion said. "We're one of the best teams in the country guarding 3-point shots. I talked about it for four days and did a poor job of transferring our points of emphasis onto the floor tonight."
Marshall and ASU began the game on opposite sides of the shooting spectrum – Arkansas State scorching and Marshall frigid. ASU made six of its first nine shots, including three of five from 3-point range. Marshall missed eight of its first nine, and that led to a 19-5 ASU advantage.
Marshall started bearing down on defense and finding better fortune at the hoop. The Red Wolves started to lose their shooting touch, going 3-for-14 in one span. After starting 1-for-9, Marshall made seven of its next 13. The Herd finally pulled into a 25-25 tie with 6:52 left in the first half, after Canty fed Goard down low and Goard's one-hander went through.
"We've been down a lot before, on the road," Canty said. "We've played at some big schools, so we know how it feels to be down and battle back. It's just something we've got to keep learning from."
After that, though, the game reset to its earlier version. ASU finished the half making seven of eight. Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke, a 6-foot-10 senior and former Houston player, drained three straight unguarded 3-pointers. Marshall made just three of its last 15 shots in the half, and fell behind 47-31 at halftime.
The Red Wolves made 10 of 19 first-half 3-pointers, and Arkansas State Coach John Brady said that didn't surprise him.
"This team I have has a good collection of shooters," Brady said. "This is the first time we've really shot the ball the way we're capable of. We tapered off in the second half, but there were some pressure shots."
Canty led Marshall with 22 points and added five assists, while TyQuane Goard recorded a double-double with 21 points – making 11 of 13 from the free throw line – and pulling down 13 rebounds. Reed led ASU with 21 points, while Van Slyke and Melvin Johnson III each added 16.
Tamron Manning left the game with trainers in the second half, and Herrion said he wasn't sure how hurt he was after the game.
Marshall does not play again until December 30, when it visits South Carolina for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Comcast Sports South.
– 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.