The Herd is the No. 8 seed in the Conference USA Tournament in Memphis, facing No. 9 UAB on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. Central/7 p.m. Eastern on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network. You can hear the game in the Huntington area on WRVC 930 AM and WDGG, "The Dawg," 93.7 FM, with airtime at 6 p.m. (ET). Marshall lost to the Blazers 70-57 on Feb. 24 in Birmingham, but beat UAB in Huntington, 61-54, on Feb. 3. UAB leads the all-time series 4-2, but only two games have been decided by more than eight points.
On Saturday, the Golden Eagles and Thundering Herd played a very competitive game, a contest which featured 12 ties and eight lead changes. Both teams shot well from the floor (Marshall 45.6%, Southern Miss 44.6 percent) and combined for only 11 turnovers in the entire game (Marshall-six, USM-five). The deciding statistic of the day was in the rebounding column, where Southern Miss held a 46-32 edge, including a 20-10 advantage on the offensive glass. The Golden Eagles outscored the Herd, 17-6, in second-chance points.
Marshall led, 34-28, at the break after limiting the Golden Eagles to only 35.5% shooting and a 1-for-8 performance from beyond the arc (12.5 [percent). Mark Dorris, nailed a three from the right corner with four seconds to give the Herd its six-point lead heading into the break. Dorris and Markel Humphrey tied for the team lead at the half with eight points apiece.
Southern Miss opened the second stanza with an 8-0 run to take a two-point lead, 36-34, with 16:42 mark. Herd senior point guard Chris Ross, who ended the game with 16 points which is just one shy of his career high, hit a layup on Marshall's next trip down the floor to tie the game at 36. The Golden Eagles then went on a 7-0 run, but once again, Marshall responded, and with 9:53 left to go in regulation, freshman center Robbie Jackson put Marshall up 52-50 on a fast break dunk.
However, that would be MU's last lead of the contest, as USM propelled itself with a 16-5 run to take the lead for good, 66-57. Marshall never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
"We got outrebounded in the first and second half, but we worked hard after not scoring early in the second half to come back and tie it," said Marshall head coach Ron Jirsa. "But, Southern Miss was not going to be denied tonight. Their big guys played well and they did a good job attaching the basket.
"We just did not rebound the ball. Markel Humphrey did a good job on the boards, and Robbie Jackson came off of the bench to give us a terrific effort. Other than that, we have to have a collective group rebounding effort and limit our opponents' offensive boards."
For Southern Miss, second team All-C-USA freshman guard Jeremy Wise tallied 19 points to lead five Southern Miss players in double figures. Courtney Beasley scored 17, Gjio Bain and Craig Craft added 14 points each, and Sai'Quon Stone chipped in 11 points. Bain led the Golden Eagles on the boards with nine.
Dorris led the way for Marshall with 23 points, one shy of his career high. Humphrey, who was named to the third team All-C-USA team on Monday, added 15 points and Jackson, who played 16 minutes for the Herd, had six points and a team-high seven rebounds and three blocks. Jackson had only scored six points and had just four rebounds over Marshall's past ten games while recovering from an injury to his foot.