HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall men's basketball team had a longer time than usual to prepare for Saturday's game at Houston.
The Thundering Herd hasn't played since last Saturday's home loss to UAB. That mid-week bye gave Marshall extra time to reflect on what went wrong against the Blazers, and it also gave the team extra time to prepare for the home stretch. After Marshall plays Houston at 2 p.m. (WCHS telecast), it has just two more games until the Conference USA tournament.
"It gives us time to work on a lot of things and get mentally focused," senior center Nigel Spikes said of the week between games. "We can get prepared to finish up the season strong."
The Herd (12-16, 5-8) is looking for any type of momentum entering its final three regular season games. The 52-48 loss to the Blazers was Marshall's 11th loss in the last 16 games. The Herd has not won consecutive games since the beginning of December and has one just one true road game this season.
That road win - at Central Florida, where the Herd had its best shooting performance of the season - was followed by the UAB loss and Marshall's worst shooting performance of the season. The Herd shot just 26.3 percent from the floor, missing 42 of the 57 shots it took, including 23 of the 26 3-pointers it took.
That offensive ineptitude wasted a good defensive performance. Marshall held UAB to 30.2 percent shooting from the floor and the Blazers made just four of 18 3-pointers.
"This time of the year, you can't be that inefficient offensively," Marshall Coach Herrion said. "It was collective the other night. You can have a guy or two, maybe, have an off night. But it was just entirely, the group as a whole."
Herrion said the Cougars will give his Herd a run in the athleticism department. That's not something a lot of teams in Conference USA can do. For instance, UAB had just two players standing 6-foot-6 or taller, while the Herd has seven players standing 6-8 or taller. Houston is a little bit better in that regard. Six players on the Cougars roster stand 6-7 or taller.