The Marshall men's basketball team remained winless on the road for the season, dropping a 66-56 decision Saturday night at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Outscored 21-4 to start the second half, Marshall was able to cut that deficit to a couple of possessions in the final minutes. Chris Thomas' layup with 1:37 left made it 60-55, but Vince Hunter responded with a layup of his own 32 seconds later.
The Herd (6-11, 0-2 Conference USA) had a chance to pull within five shortly afterward, but free throw woes appeared again. Ryan Taylor made just one of two, then Hunter hit two of his own to hold Marshall at bay. The Herd is now 0-9 away from home this season.
"I thought the first five minutes of the second half was where we lost the tempo of the game," Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said. "Defensively, I don't think we were as active in the zone. The zone was very good to us for the most part, except for that first part in the second half. Offensively, we really forced and took bad shots."
Marshall made just 13 of 23 free throws Saturday night and struggled from the floor as well. The Herd made 19 of 60 shots for the game (31.7 percent) and five of 20 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Miners (11-6, 2-0 C-USA) made 22 of 47 shots (46.8) and outrebounded Marshall 42-34.
Ryan Taylor led Marshall with 18 points, while Hunter led all scorers with 20 and John Bohannon recorded 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.
Saturday night had the makings of a low-scoring, but close game, as the teams went into halftime tied at 27. A trio of Miners kept the entire team in the game. Bohannon (11 first-half points), Hunter (10 first-half points) and Julian Washburn (six first-half points) were the only UTEP players to score in the game's first 20 minutes.
But UTEP scored the first 10 points of the second half on its way to that 21-4 run. It took 3 minutes, 33 seconds for Marshall to make its first second-half basket, on a TyQuane Goard jumper. The Herd trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half before closing the gap.
The Miners were without three players, including leading scorer and assist man McKenzie Moore, after they were dismissed from the team after allegedly betting on sporting events.
Chris Thomas scored 13 points with six rebounds and three assists for the Herd, while Goard and Kareem Canty each scored seven. It was the first game this season that Canty did not score in double figures.
The Herd now returns to Huntington to host North Texas on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Cam Henderson Center.