HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – With hopes of snapping Middle Tennessee’s eight-game win streak, the Marshall men’s basketball team once again fell victim to the three ball as a trey with 19 seconds remaining broke a tie and lifted the Blue Raiders to a 56-53 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Cam Henderson Center.
Conference USA leader Middle Tennessee improves to 21-7 overall and 11-2 in its first season as a C-USA member, while the Thundering Herd now sits at 9-19 on the year and 3-10 in league play. The Blue Raiders now lead the all-time series with the Herd, 5-2.
From the opening tip, both sides remained within striking distance as the lead grew no larger than eight points for the entirety of the 40-minute contest.
A sloppy first half consisted of 21 total turnovers with 11 coming from the Blue Raiders with those mistakes resulting in 12 Marshall points. At the break, Middle Tennessee held serve, 27-25, with freshman forward Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) having shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field for eight points in nine first-half minutes.
Down the stretch, the two teams traded buckets until the Herd gained a head of steam as a jumper from freshman guard Kareem Canty (Harlem, N.Y.) helped put his side up by a game-high seven points as the score stood at 47-40 with 7:09 to play.
The lead wouldn’t hold for as long as Marshall coach Tom Herrion would have liked as three-straight triples from Middle Tennessee’s Kerry Hammonds took the Blue Raiders from down 49-42, to up 51-49 with 2:56 remaining in regulation. Canty tied the game at 51 just 65 seconds later, before the visitors retook a two-point lead, 53-51.
Canty would once again deliver a basket to tie it up, this time with 54 seconds left on the game clock.
As the shot clock had mere seconds left, Jawawn Raymond knocked down a tough three with 19 seconds remaining, putting his side up 56-53. After calling a timeout with 13 seconds remaining to draw up a play, the Herd was unsuccessful in running the play, leading to a scramble that resulted in a desperation three-point attempt by Canty with three ticks left that fell short, allowing Middle Tennessee to escape with a 56-53 win.
The Herd will take its final road trip of the regular season when it travels to Norfolk, Va. to take on another C-USA newcomer, Old Dominion, on Thursday (Feb. 27) at 7 p.m.