HUNTINGTON - Marshall point guard Kareem Canty often says that he never sleeps well after losses. He and the rest of the Thundering Herd men's basketball team likely had a much more peaceful slumber Sunday night.
The Herd, which had one just one game and none versus non-NAIA opponents since Nov. 26, pulled away from the Blue Hose in the second half to win 77-49 and snap a three-game losing streak Sunday afternoon at the Cam Henderson Center.
It's a boost the Herd (6-9) craved as it entered Conference USA play at the University of Texas at San Antonio on Thursday.
"To say that was needed would be one of my bigger understatements in my three-and-a-half years here," Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said. "We needed to taste victory in the worst way, with this particular group, at this time of year, through all our frustrations, tribulations, what we've had from non-conference to this point."
Marshall had lost in about every possible way during the slump - giving up a lead it held for more than 36 minutes against West Virginia, getting outscored by 22 in the second half against South Carolina or watching a potential game-winning layup hit every part of the rim before bouncing out against Akron.
Freshman Ryan Taylor recorded his fourth double-double of the season, leading Marshall with 18 points and 12 rebounds, with 12 points and seven rebounds coming as Marshall blew past Presbyterian.
The Big South-member Blue Hose (4-11) hung around near the start of the second half, trailing just 42-38 with 15:05 left in the game. But back-to-back Marshall put-back dunks swung the momentum decidedly in the Herd's favor.
First, forward Shawn Smith charged along the left baseline to grab a missed Chris Thomas 3-pointer and slam it home. Then it was Thomas' turn following a Smith miss, with the sophomore soaring in from the same side for his own dunk. The lead grew to 46-38 after those two jams and exploded after that.
As much as any offensive spark led to Marshall outscoring Presbyterian by 27 points in the second half, ball security was just as important, Taylor said.