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The Parthenon

Marshall men’s basketball faces Southern Mississippi in regular-season finale

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The Marshall University men’s basketball team will play the University of Southern Mississippi 7 p.m. Saturday in its regular season finale.

With a victory the Herd (15-15, 11-6) would lock up the fourth seed in the Conference USA Tournament and achieve a bye in the tournament’s opening round, which starts Wednesday in Birmingham Alabama.

However, after a heartbreaking loss Thursday where Marshall lost on a half-court buzzer-beater to Louisiana Tech University, 97-94, the team is on a three-game losing streak heading into the contest.

Despite the recent skid, members of the team said they are confident the team can get back on track before the conference tournament, where the group said it has big plans.

“We know how to handle our losses, and we are confident in our last game,” freshman forward Aleksander Dozic said.

Dozic said he thinks the team can still accomplish its goal of winning the tournament, a point which was reiterated by senior forward James Kelly, who said the team’s eight-man rotation has all the requirements to earn a conference title.

“I think we can win it all honestly,” Kelly said. “With the quality of the starters and the players coming off the bench like Terrence Thompson, Justin Edmonds and C.J Burks.”

However, in order to win the conference tournament, the Herd may be faced with the onerous task of defeating conference-leading University of Alabama at Birmingham in its home arena as it is hosting the tournament.

The Herd lost twice to UAB in the regular season, and even an upset of the Blazers won’t guarantee the Herd the championship as it will face UAB in the conference semifinals if the two teams meet in the tournament.

A matchup with the 15-2 Blazers is anything but guaranteed, and if the Herd is to earn the opportunity to face off and, ultimately, pick up a victory against UAB in the semifinals, Kelly said the team will have to play with consistent effort throughout the tournament.

Christian Hisman can be contacted at [email protected]

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