Marshall 53, UAB 52
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Mark Dorris scored 15 points, and Marshall survived a difficult second half to defeat UAB 53-52 in the opening round of the Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday night.
Marshall, which led by 14 at the half, committed 13 turnovers in the second half and connected on only 5 of its 20 shots, including missing all nine 3-point attempts.
But despite a UAB comeback fueled by the Thundering Herd’s anemic play, the Blazers (15-16) fell short as Paul Delaney’s 12-foot bank shot bounced off the rim as time expired.
“It’s really frustrating” UAB coach Mike Davis said. “Very, very frustrating to be in this situation.”
Marshall (13-18) moves into the second round Thursday to face top-seeded No. 5 Memphis.
Markel Humphrey scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Marshall, despite connecting on only 5-of-14 shots. His layup in the final seconds was the winning margin.
Lawrence Kinnard led UAB, the tournament’s ninth seed, with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Delaney finished with 10 points and six assists.
Marshall, the No. 8 seed, used a 10-2 run midway through the opening half to build a double-digit advantage and carried a 38-24 halftime lead. The 14-point halftime margin was the biggest for the Thundering Herd in the game and was capped by Dorris’ 3-pointer with 26 seconds left.
“In the first half, it was the same thing that we’ve been doing all year,” Davis said. “Not sharing the basketball, not getting the ball to open teammates. Just playing like we’re undefeated, and there is no effort.”
Dorris had nine points in the half to lead Marshall, matching Kinnard’s nine points for the Blazers.
The difference before halftime was Marshall’s field goal percentage. The Herd shot 56 percent in the half, including half of their six 3-point attempts.
Meanwhile, UAB was shooting 42 percent and missed seven of its eight shots outside the arc.
Ten turnovers in the half also stymied the Blazers.
But the roles were reversed in the second half as Marshall had trouble handling the ball and was misfiring from the field.
That allowed UAB to score nine unanswered points, and take a 52-51 lead on Delaney’s layup with 28.8 seconds left.
But Humphrey scored his own layup five seconds later for the final margin.
“We got the ball out real fast and I just sprinted down the court as fast as I could,” Humphrey said. “I didn’t think I was going to be that open. I just went up as strong as I could and got the basket.”