Omega Harris scored a career high 18 points, but the Miners once again lost the rebounding battle and were abysmal at the free throw in an extremely disappointing 78-71 loss at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, WV.
Cedrick Lang couldn't be stopped in the early going, as the 6'10 senior scored the games' first four points, and the Miners' first six points, giving his team an early 6-2 advantage.
It wouldn't take long for Marshall to get going though, especially from beyond the arc. The Herd took their first lead of the game at 7-6 on a Justin Edmonds made three, and his hot shooting would keep them out in front for virtually the remainder of the first twenty minutes.
Austin Loop, Tamron Manning and Aleksa Nikolic would get in on the three point barrage, as Marshall would knock down eight from deep in the first half alone, and would find themselves ahead 42-39 as the teams headed for the locker rooms.
The Herd would stay hot out of the break, opening the second half on an 8-2 spurt to quickly stretch their lead out to nine at 50-41. They would eventually lead by as many as 11 at 57-46 with 15:12 to play, and would maintain the lead until about the 11 minute mark.
Omega Harris would spark a Miners' run, scoring four straight to get them within six at 60-54, and the comeback was on. Five minutes later, Harris put home another five straight, and this time his baskets gave the Miners the lead at 66-65 with 5:54 left to play.
The Miners would be unable to stretch their lead any further than that, and after trading buckets on the next two possessions, found themselves stumbling the finish line. A Ryan Taylor made layup with 3:20 to play gave Marshall the lead back, and they wouldn't concede it from there.
UTEP would fail to score again until C.J. Cooper knocked down a three with :21 to play, but by then it was far too late. In the end, Marshall would escape with a huge 78-71 victory over the Miners.
Omega Harris, as mentioned, led the way with a career high 18 points. Matt Willms finished with 12 points, and Cedrick Lang had 11, but 21 of those 23 points came in the first half.
Marshall was led by Justin Edmonds who had 20 points and 4 rebounds. Ryan Taylor racked up a double-double with 17 and 10, JP Kambola finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds, and Aleksa Nikolic chipped in with 10.
The Miners shot 47.6% from the field, while holding Marshall to just 40.6%, but knocked in just 5-16 threes, and struggled mightily at the line again, knocking in just 10 of their 19 attempts. Marshall finished 10-27 from range, and capitalized at the line finishing 16-22.
The Herd also outrebounded the Miners 41-37, including 12-8 on the offensive end, marking the sixth time in seven league games the Miners have been outrebounded. The Miners did have 17 assists on their 28 made buckets, but committed 13 turnovers to 10 for Marshall.
The loss drops the Miners to 12-7 overall and 4-3 in league play, while improving the Thundering Herd to 5-15 overall and 1-6 in league action.
For a season that started with so much promise, it is quickly turning out to be one of the most disappointing in recent memory. After starting 4-0, the Miners have gone 8-7 since, and its pretty clear that coach Tim Floyd has lost control of his team.
The truth is, there is just too much talent for this team to be struggling the way they are. It's one thing to struggle to hit shots on the road against a league leader, its a completely different thing to basically be beat from start to finish against a 4-15 cellar dweller.
You can call it a lack of depth or a lack of cohesion and chemistry, but this is turning out to be just a complete lack of coaching. Yes, the players have to play, but for a team that is so "defensive oriented" to not be able to guard the perimeter one half, and not be able to stop the pick and roll the second goes right back to coaching, and the inability to adjust on the fly.
This one hurts. A team with the potential freshman of the year, the potential player of the year, potential newcomer of the year and multiple senior leaders is absolutely not supposed to be losing games like this. Its just not supposed to happen.
Let's be clear though, no one is giving up on this team. There is still time to right the ship and rebound from the disaster and nightmare the first half of this season has been. But if it doesn't happen quickly, what should've been an NCAA tournament season, will result in not even an NIT bid.
Up next, the Miners will face UAB and Middle Tennessee Thursday and Saturday in the Don Haskins Center. Tipoff for the UAB game is slated for 7:00 p.m. MT.
Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for coverage of all things UTEP sports. Also, make sure to Follow @sbnminerrush on Twitter and as always don't forget to like our Facebook Page. Picks Up, and Go Miners!