HOUSTON -- Marshall reverted to its role as the Thundering 'Possums -- that is, turning into so much roadkill.The Cougars used a 41-16 run over the last 6:46 of the first half and first seven minutes of the second half to bury Marshall 103-76. They shot a blistering 59.4 percent from the floor, canning 8 of 15 tries from 3-point range, and scored the most points in a Conference USA game this season.That broke the 102 of Southern Mississippi, set against ... yes, Marshall.The Thundering Herd (12-17, 5-9) clinched a losing season in Conference USA play, and would need a stunning postseason run to avoid a losing season overall.
MU's 82-70 road win over Central Florida was 10 days earlier, but might as well have been 10 years ago. The Thundering Herd fell to 1-6 in league road games, losing by an average of 21 points."Thoroughly disappointed of the defensive effort by us," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "It was totally unacceptable, very disheartening. They scored at will and we offered no resistance, and that discourages me greatly."TaShawn Thomas ruled inside with 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Cougars (16-11, 5-9), who tied Marshall for ninth place (excluding postseason-banned Central Florida). Freshman Danuel House ruled outside, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring 23 points. Joseph Young ruled everywhere, scoring 23, and Mikhail McLean had 12 points and seven rebounds.The Cougars scored 23 points off 15 MU turnovers and outscored the Herd in the paint 50-30. They had 26 assists on 38 baskets.Marshall never led, but was down just 28-23 with 6:46 left in the first half on two Dennis Tinnon free throws. The Cougars blitzed the Herd 16-5 the rest of the half, though, with a House 3-pointer putting the margin in double digits for good.Houston led 44-28 at the half and exploded on a 25-11 run, punctuated by a House 3-pointer. That made it 69-39, a 30-point lead the Herd clipped to 18 twice.DeAndre Kane led the Herd with 27 points, though he did it on 10-of-25 shooting. Elijah Pittman had 22 points and eight rebounds, while Tinnon had 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Herd shot just 36.4 percent from the floor, 7 of 31 from 3-point range.Marshall plays its final home game at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Southern Miss before ending the regular season next Saturday at East Carolina.