GAME NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd continue to search for their first true road win of the season as they journey to Bartow Arena for a Conference USA tilt against the UAB Blazers.
The Blazers hold an 11-6 all-time series lead over the Thundering Herd coming into Saturday. UAB downed Marshall, 56-49, on Jan. 12 in the most recent encounter.
Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd are in the midst of a difficult slump. Marshall lost for the fourth time in five games on Wednesday when it dropped a 91-75 decision at Tulane. The defeat lowered the Herd three games below the .500 mark on the season and to a 3-5 C-USA standing. Elijah Pittman is pacing Marshall in scoring with 15.1 ppg, while DeAndre Kane posts 14.4 points and a conference leading 7.4 assists per tilt.
Kane and Dennis Tinnon both registered double-doubles in Marshall's loss to the Green Wave, but a poor first half hindered its chances of a victory. The Thundering Herd went into the intermission trailing by 24 points before picking it up slightly in the second stanza. Kane 14 points and 11 assists for his second double-double of the season. Tinnon finished with 13 points and 12 rebound his sixth double-double of the season. Junior forward Elijah Pittman scored a career-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting including four three- pointers. The strong performances by the trio was not enough to overcome MU's 16 turnovers. Rebounding is a strength for Marshall, as Tinnon (9.1) and Nigel Spikes (7.5) average 16.6 rebounds combined per game as starting post players.
While the visitors are on a decline, UAB downed Tulsa, 70-63, to register its second win in three games. Coach Jerod Haase's team has the same record as Marshall at 10-13, but it trails the Herd in the C-USA standings by a game. The Blazers revolve around the forward combo of Jordan Swing and Rod Rucker, who are both producing 13.8 ppg. Rucker is also grabbing a team-best 8.1 boards per tilt.
UAB used a 30-4 run in the early part of its bout with the Golden Hurricane to take a 24-point lead and managed to hang on for a seven-point win. Rucker topped the Blazers with 17 points off 7-of-10 shooting from the floor and added six rebounds. Quincy Taylor took advantage of his first appearance in the starting five by tallying 14 points and six assists. Terence Jones added 11 of his 13 points in the opening 20 minutes as UAB shot 54.5 percent overall, featuring a 60.7 shooting mark in the first half. In addition, UAB made 9-of-20 3-point tries. The Blazers are the most trigger happy team in the conference, putting up 61.0 attempts per contest.
UAB's fast-paced style of play could turn this matchup into a track meet. Marshall's woes outside of Huntington could be erased as it holds a noticeable advantage on the interior.
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