EL PASO, Texas – On the road before 7,551 fans, the Marshall men’s basketball team (6-11, 0-2 Confernece-USA) fell, 66-56, at UTEP (11-6, 1-1 C-USA) on Saturday night at Don Haskins Center as a 21-4 run by the Miners, put the Thundering Herd in an insurmountable hole.
With the game having got off to a scrappy start, both the Herd and Miners battled for every basket on every possession since Marshall controlled the opening tip.
With 6:17 remaining in the first half, the Herd trailed 18-17 as freshman forward Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis, Ind.) led the way for Marshall with eight points, shooting 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.
Marshall was prepared for the UTEP offense in the first half as the Herd forced multiple shot clock violations and had the Miners looking for shots late in the shot clock.
With 41 seconds remaining in the first half, Taylor sank a driving layup to knot the game up at 27 points apiece, with the score at halftime standing at 27-27. At the break, Taylor’s 10 points led Marshall in scoring.
John Bohannon was forced to be reckoned with for the Herd defense through the first 20 minutes as he had 11 points and nine rebounds in 17 first-half minutes in his starting role.
In a back and forth contest, 10 lead changes and six tie scores were seen in the first half alone. While Marshall’s points came from seven different players, UTEP’s came from just three.
Coming out of the locker room to a rejuvenated home crowd, UTEP jumped on the Herd with eight quick points in 1:43 to open the half, stretching its lead to 35-27 and forcing coach Tom Herrion to call a timeout. After another Miner bucket, sophomore forward TyQuane Goard (Charleston, W.Va.) snapped the Herd’s scoring drought with a mid-range jumper, bringing the score to 37-29, but the run would continue.
At the 12-minute media timeout, 11:35 remained in the second half and UTEP led 48-31 with assistance from its 21-4 scoring run that began at the start of the second half.
Bringing Marshall back to life, sophomore guard Chris Thomas (Denver) scored seven-straight points for the Herd to bring the score to 53-41 with 8:26 to play.
The rest of the Herd followed suit with Thomas to bring Marshall within striking distance after Taylor drained a wide-open three, making it 54-47 with 6:27 left in the contest. Despite exchanging baskets after the UTEP run ended, there was no quit in the Herd as a layup from Thomas brought it to 60-55 with 1:37 left.
Unfortunately for Marshall, the lead would get no smaller with UTEP taking the contest, 66-56. Taylor finished as the top scorer for the Herd with 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting, while Thomas followed with 13 after going 5-for-12.
The Marshall defense was successful in forcing 15 UTEP turnovers, while turning them into 18 points. Efficiency from the field was key for the Miners in being victorious as they went 22-for-47 (46.8 percent) to 19-of-61 for the Herd (31.1 percent).
The Herd will return home to take on its third-straight Texas team, North Texas on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.
In-game Twitter updates @HerdMBB, results and a recap from the night’s action will be available at HerdZone.com.