HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – One whistle helped cost the Marshall men's basketball team a lead, and ultimately the game, Saturday versus Tulsa.
Whistled for his fourth foul, freshman Ryan Taylor's response drew a technical foul that put him on the bench and put the Golden Hurricane on the free throw line. Those free throws, and the two Tulsa 3-pointers that came after that, helped TU pull away from the Thundering Herd and win, 69-52, at the Cam Henderson Center.
That two-foul moment came with 9:52 left in the game and the Herd clinging to a 45-42 lead. Twenty-five seconds later, Marshall trailed 50-45 and never led again. That flurry was only part of a Herd collapse that began with 15:41 left in the game.
At that point, following a Chris Thomas 3-pointer, Marshall (6-13, 0-4 Conference USA) was head 34-26. After that, the Golden Hurricane (8-10, 3-1 C-USA) outscored the Herd 43-18. Marshall's defense succumbed to the growing heat in Tulsa's shooting hands, while its offense struggled yet again.
"We melted," Herrion said. "We melted. We hit adversity and it hit us right in the face and we caved in as a group."
The loss was Marshall's 11th in its last 13 games. Now the Herd returns to the road at 8 p.m. Thursday versus Rice. Marshall has won just once in its last 23 games away from the Henderson Center. The Herd is 0-9 away from home this season.
Marshall held a 25-20 lead at halftime, despite dismal offensive numbers, because Tulsa shot even worse. The Herd's defense held the Golden Hurricane to an 8-for-32 performance (25 percent) in the first 20 minutes. Marshall relied less on 3-pointers, shooting eight in the first half after shooting 15 in the first half in Thursday's loss to North Texas. The Herd led by as many as nine in the first half.
"We were getting stops," sophomore guard Chris Thomas said. "We were getting out in transition and scoring. We had our home crowd in it, so we felt good in the first half.
"Then, in the second half, we came out slow," he continued. "Our tempo wasn't what it was supposed to be."