HUNTINGDON, W.V. – Middle Tennessee never gave up on Tuesday night against Marshall with a chance to force overtime in the final seconds but fell 63-60.
Two free throws by junior James Washington made it a one possession game, 63-60, and then the Blue Raiders got the ball back on a Marshall turnover on the inbounds pass.
Middle Tennessee (1-2) had 6.9 seconds to tie the game. The Blue Raiders got two shots off from behind the arc from junior Rod Emanuel and senior Calvin O’Neil neither were good to tie and force overtime.
The Blue Raiders shot 44 percent in the game going 22 for 50 and shot 80 percent from the charity stripe making 12 of 15. Three Middle Tennessee players scored in double figures with Washington leading the way with 14.
Emmanuel posted 11 points, going 3 for 6 from the field and 3 for 4 from the free throw line. O’Neil ended the night 4 for 10 from the field with 10 total points.
Senior Montarrio Haddock grabbed a team high eight rebounds with Emanuel, O’Neil and senior Theryn Hudson each getting four.
“We got better. In pre-game we talked about it and on Sunday afternoon watching tape and during our two practices yesterday and shoot around today. Our effort was terrific tonight but I told our guys this is what is expected at this level,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “We got off to a great start in the second half up seven and then one of their guys took the ball out of Calvin’s hands and dunked and got it going. Then we go it going again and they called an unbelievable foul on Theryn and then we turned the ball over four straight times.”
Marshall (2-0) shot 41.5 percent in the game after going 22 for 53. Three Thundering Herd players scored in double figures and Hassan Whiteside pulled down 10 rebounds.
Middle Tennessee began the game strong taking a 3-2 lead after a shot from behind the arc by Emanuel with 19-17 remaining. The Blue Raiders kept with Marshall and at the 15-minute media timeout had a one-point lead 8-7.
Middle Tennessee and Marshall continued to battle with the Thundering Herd taking its largest lead of the game 14-10 at the 12-minute media timeout.
Trailing by as many as five-points, Middle Tennessee cut the Thundering Herd lead to three, 25-22, at the four-minute media timeout. A three by Washington put Middle Tennessee up by 2-points with 1:15 on the clock but then Lutz hit a three for Marshall and the Herd’s defense held the Blue Raiders for a one-point lead, 30-29 at the half.
Emanuel led the team at halftime with 11 points after going 3 for 5 from the field. Haddock also performed well as he had seven points including 3 for 4 from the charity stripe and had pulled down seven rebounds.
As a team, the Blue Raiders were 34.6 percent from the field after going 9 for 26 but were 8 for 11 from the free throw line for a 72.7 percent. Marshall shot 41.7 from the field after going 10 for 24 but only shot 50 percent from the charity stripe going 9 for 18.
Middle Tennessee began the second half with a bang going on an 11-3 run to take a seven-point lead, 40-33. The Blue Raiders had one more basket as Marshall made a 14-2 run of its own to take a 47-42 lead.
The Blue Raiders continued to battle and after a jumper by O’Neil took a three-point lead, 54-51 with 5:25 remaining on the clock. Middle Tennessee cut the lead to two with 26 seconds left in the game but fouled to get the ball back and Marshall made its free throws.
Middle Tennessee will be back in action on Thursday, Nov. 19 when it faces Lamar at 7 p.m. in Murphy Center.