"It's disappointing because we didn't execute the fundamentals we worked on all week," said Marshall coach Greg White. "We missed a bunch of easy ones."
Marshall fell behind 27-22 in the first half, courtesy of dismal 27.3% shooting from the field (9-of-33). Comparatively speaking, Illinois State was ablaze, shooting 42.9% (12-of-28) in the first half.
By the 14:12 mark of the second half, Marshall found itself in a 16-point hole, down 43-27. However, Ron Blackshear drained two consecutive three-pointers to cut the RedBirds' lead to 10, and David Anderson's fast-break dunk brought the Herd to within 8 at 45-37.
"Tonight, we didn't want to play defense the last two minutes of the first half," said Marshall forward Marvin Black. "What we've got to understand as a team is that when opportunity knocks, we've got to answer."
Marvin Black drained 12 points and hauled down a career-high 18 rebounds in the loss to Illinois State.
Improved shooting in the second half (48%) enabled Marshall to cut the lead to only one point, 49-48, with 6:31 remaining. A.W. Hamilton's three-pointer cut the ISU lead to only four at 57-53, but a missed dunk by Marvin Black and the ensuing turnover by Monty Wright effectively ended the Herd's chances of getting the win.
Ron Blackshear put up 16 points, but had a miserable night (5-of-19) shooting. Blackshear made only 4 of 14 three-point shots. However, Marshall's Marvin Black had yet another double-double, hitting 12 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Point guard A.W. Hamilton came out of his shell to put up 10 points as well.
"Casey Reid got a hand in Blackshear's face," said ISU coach Tom Richardson. "We had a good hand in his face and pushed him out a bit."
"We shoot too many three-pointers," Marvin Black added. "In games where we live and die by the three, we definitely die and die big."
Illinois State was led by Gregg Alexander's 21 points. The RedBirds shot 43.9% (25-of-57) for the game, including 5-of-13 from three-point range. The RedBirds also outrebounded Marshall 38-35, but committed 18 turnovers to the Herd's 13.
"They were hitting shots, and we just couldn't stop them," Black summed up.
Illinois State bumped up their record to 6-18 overall, while Marshall's slid down to the 11-12 mark. The Herd now gears up for MAC East action on Tuesday night, when the Kent State Golden Flashes come to the Henderson Center in Huntington for a 7:30 game.