December 2, 2014
The Thundering Herd men’s basketball team (3-4) gave a spirited effort in the second half of Monday’s game against the University of South Carolina (4-3), but its performance in the first half put them in a deficit too insurmountable. The final score was 77-59.
“We started slow again,” said Marshall Head Coach Dan D’Antoni. “It seems I got to find the key to start the motor a little early, but I think overall what I’m going to take from the game was I thought we played hard all the way through, especially in the second half when they could’ve given up, but they didn’t.”
With a great mixture of extending defense sets, those being the 3-2 and the 2-3, the Gamecocks were able to close in on many of the Herd’s pick-and-roll exchanges and corner-to-corner baseline passes. South Carolina blasted through screens and disabled the Herd to get any proper spacing within its offense. Causing 19 turnovers, Carolina converted on eight of them and scored 17 fast break points to Marshall’s four.
“We turned them over and were able to get some run outs and some opportunities in the open court,” said South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin. “I don’t think we played well offensively; give Marshall credit for that. I think our defense created some three on one and three on two opportunities for us.”
South Carolina jumped out to a 39-20 halftime lead where it held Marshall to just 17.2 percent shooting and forced 10 turnovers. Marshall then revaluated the lineup, placing a smaller Justin Edmonds and Milan Mijovic in the game for 17 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively. These two seemed to switch the gear of the Herd defense and play with more physicality.
Marshall outscored the Gamecocks 39-38 in the second half. Because the Thundering Herd is going through a major structural transition, contests like these help bolster the probability of finding a mor e consistently used lineup.
“I shrank the lineup,” D’Antoni said. “Now, I think it’s good to play like this [because you] find the people who can raise their game up and the ones who kind of get stuck in the middle. We made a lot of mistakes in the second half, but the overall effort was good—they continued to play and we ended up one point more than they had in the second half. It might help me to decide the six, seven, eight players that we’re going to play and then give them a change to gel and see if we can get bett er throughout this year.”
Marshall’s next opponent will be the Penn State Nittany Lions Dec. 6, a home game and an opportunity to get its record back to .500.