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Herd falls to Morehead State in overtime, 102-94

On November 17, 2013

The Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball team failed its first road test of the season Sunday afternoon, letting a 15-point lead melt away against the Morehead State Eagles and falling in overtime 102-94.

“A tale of two halves, to say the least,” Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said. “A very frustrating painful loss for our group, when you play so well for the first 20 minutes and then they kind of flip the switch.”

Early in the game the Herd had its will against the Eagles, leading by as much as 21 with 1:00 left in the first half. The Herd forced the Eagles into 13 first half turnovers and redshirt freshman point guard Kareem Canty had seven of his game-high nine assists.

The Herd benefitted from the Eagles’ foul trouble, especially to its big men. Six-foot-11 starting center Chad Posthumus had three quick fouls and had to sit most of the first half, while his back-up, 6-foot-10 center Billy Reader, picked up four fouls of his own. The fouls resulted in 27 first half free throws for the Herd, making 21 of them.

After halftime, however, the Eagles came to life.

“We came out in the second half like we had mud on the bottom of our feet,” Marshall senior forward Elijah Pittman said. “They just drove us to death and attacked the rim.”

Senior guard Bakari Turner said that the Eagles drew determination from a home crowd that felt hostile much of the first half thanks to large patches of kelly green in the Ellis T. Johnson Arena.

“We came out and looked around at the crowd and saw more green than blue, so that gave us that fire,” Turner said. “I went around and told the guys ‘look, we don’t need anyone but ourselves’ and we fought back and got the win.”

The whistles turned against the Herd in the second half as it was called for 20 fouls after halftime, putting the Eagles on the line 29 times.

“That slows the game down a lot,” Pittman said of the fouls. “We’re a fast, transition team and when there are so many whistles back and forth we end up having to play a half-court game.”

The Herd also got loose with the ball, committing 13 second half turnovers, including five from Canty, who played the entire second half.

“There were a lot of fatigue turnovers for him,” Herrion said of Canty. “Too many minutes, but we were scrambling for players because of the foul trouble.”

Despite the Herd’s problems after halftime, it still had a chance to win the game in regulation. With 1.1 seconds remaining in the game sophomore guard DeVince Boykins had the opportunity to break an 86-86 tie but missed both, missing the rim entirely on his second attempt.

The Herd could not keep the Eagles off the free-throw line in overtime as the Eagles went 14 of 14, pulling away to the final score of 102-94. A grand total of 76 fouls were called during the game, 44 of them against the Herd, with many of them coming from the new hand-check rules. The fouls resulted in 108 free throws.
“I’m not complaining about the officiating, but in 25 years of coaching I’ve never seen 108 free throws,” Herrion said.

“We just have to finish,” Pittman said. “This is a 40 minute game and we came out after 20 minutes like it was over. We could have put it away but we didn’t finish.”

Pittman led the Herd in scoring with 31 points, followed by Kareem Canty with 19 and redshirt freshman Ryan Taylor with 12. Pittman and junior transfer TyQuane Goard had seven rebounds to lead the Herd in that category. Canty led the team in assists with nine, but also had nine turnovers.

Redshirt sophomore Brent Arrington and Bakari Turner paced the Eagles with 24 points each and senior center Chad Posthumus had the games only double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

The game was the 95th between the Herd and the Eagles, with the Herd now holding the 50-45 edge. The Herd will return home for its next three games, the first of which coming Thursday against Stephen F. Austin.

Will Vance can be contacted at vance173@marshall.edu.

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