HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – For the third time in the last five games, the 3-point shot ended the upset hopes of the Marshall men's basketball team.
This time – in a 56-53 loss to Middle Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon in the Cam Henderson Center – it wasn't just one. Leading by seven with 6:17 to go, the Thundering Herd watched the Blue Raiders go on a 9-0 run, all on made 3-pointers, to take a 51-49 lead with 2:56 to go.
The Herd pulled into a 53-53 tie with 54 seconds left on a Kareem Canty floater, but MT's Jaqawn Raymond drained a 3 with 19 seconds to go and the shot clock running out.
"The song is getting old," Herrion said.
Marshall (9-19, 3-10 Conference USA) – which fell on late 3-pointers to Southern Mississippi on Feb. 7 and Tulane on Feb. 9 – has matched its loss total from last season with three regular-season games to go.
With two fouls to give, the Herd tried to answer on the other end with a 3-pointer of its own. The play was designed for freshman forward Ryan Taylor, who led Marshall with 16 points, to get the shot with freshman point guard Kareem Canty as a decoy. Middle Tennessee (21-7, 11-2 C-USA) switched off on defense, leaving Canty to heave a 3 that didn't make the rim.
"I'll take the responsibility on that," Herrion said. "I thought we explained it well enough, but we didn't execute it very well. That's my fault."
Before that, Marshall had on the ropes a Blue Raiders team that Herrion said was the unit playing the best basketball in the conference. MT had won its last eight entering Saturday's game, but shot just 10 of 27 (37 percent) from the floor in the first half and suffered an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers. It entered the game averaging 11.8 per contest.
Blue Raiders coach Kermit Davis admitted that he was escaping Huntington with the victory.