HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall men's basketball team is still searching for the formula to turn single-game success into a lasting situation.
With its 66-59 loss to the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center, the Thundering Herd has yet to win back-to-back games since besting the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Western Kentucky in the end of November.
Despite a smoking-hot start and 22 points from Chris Thomas, his second-best scoring game of the season, the Herd (9-18, 3-9 Conference USA) fell to UAB (16-10, 5-7 C-USA) under a barrage of missed MU 3-pointers and Blazer rebounds.
"It's a tough loss," Marshall freshman forward Ryan Taylor said. "I really think it's tougher than the two road losses we just had. Losing those games on the road, we had momentum, playing against one of the top teams in the conference in Southern Miss. Then at Tulane, we lost on a last-second shot.
"I thought we had built up our energy and were ready to come here and have a good game in front of our home crowd. But it was disappointing."
Marshall's final lead of the game came with 8:22 left. Kareem Canty corralled a missed Jordan Swing jumper and sprinted down the court. He found himself in a two-on-one situation with Thomas and zipped a pass to the sophomore for a layup and a 48-47 lead. UAB's Denzell Watts almost immediately answered with a 3-pointer to put the Blazers ahead again.
The third-worst 3-point shooting team in Conference USA lived up to its ranking. The Herd missed its first 12 from beyond the arc and made just 3 of 20 for the game. Marshall also was outrebounded 51-41 and allowed the Blazers to pull down 19 offensive rebounds. Two of those came in the final 40 seconds and allowed the Blazers to extend their lead.
Ryan Taylor's layup with 43 seconds left cut UAB's lead to 63-59. The Herd fouled to put the Blazers on the line, and twice Jordan swing pulled in the offensive board after the UAB shooter missed the second free throw.
"Plus-10 on the glass is one of the most misleading stats I've seen in recent memory," Marshall coach Tom Herrion said. "We got pummeled on the glass. Pummeled. Pummeled. We don't finish around the basket and leave too many points on the foul line."
Marshall went 13 of 23 from the free throw line (56.5 percent) versus UAB.