Men’s basketball falls to UAB in final seconds after controversial call


Ryan Fischer

Senior forward James Kelly drives to the basket against Middle Tennessee State University Jan. 28.

Fans jammed the Cam Henderson Center Saturday as Marshall University’s men’s basketball team fell to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, 81-78.
The Herd fell one basket short on the day after a late-game call by the referees did not go the team’s way when a ball went out of bounds off of forward Ryan Taylor after what looked like a missed shooting foul by the officials. With the win, the Blazers remained atop Conference USA.
Both teams struggled to get ahead early on, but Marshall junior Stevie Browning, sophomore Jon Elmore and junior Austin Loop got things rolling for the Herd, each hitting a 3-pointer at the beginning of the first half.
However, UAB sophomore William Lee responded for the Blazers scoring five of the team’s first 10 points.
Marshall senior James Kelly found his groove midway through the half, scoring 10 of the team’s 32 points. Despite Kelly’s performance, the Herd trailed 32-40 going into halftime.
The first half of action was physical as UAB collected 10 team fouls and Marshall piled up seven of its own.
Marshall started off slow in the second half as UAB went up 10 points with 15:28 left in the game.
However, Kelly cut UAB’s lead to four points after the 6-foot-8 forward knocked down one of his two free throws.
The Herd managed to cut the lead to one point with seven seconds remaining in the game. With only seconds remaining, the Herd inbounded the ball to Taylor, but as he tried to take the ball in for a layup, the ball was knocked out of bounds with .06 left on the clock. Initially, the referees called the ball out on UAB, giving Marshall possession.
After several reviews, however, the officials overturned the call, giving UAB possession.
Two Herd fouls at the end resulted in two more UAB points from the free-throw line, giving the Blazers the win, 81-78.
With many Herd fans upset over the officiating of the game, Kelly said there is nothing the team can do about it now.
“I should have attacked it (the layup) stronger,” Taylor said. “We had our decision on what happened and they (the officials) had theirs. They run the game, and they overruled us.”
Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said he agreed with his junior forward and his team has to pick itself up and keep moving forward.
“You know, the first time you date, you trip all over your feet and fall all over the place,” D’Antoni said. “But hopefully we will become a better date later on.”
D’Antoni said despite the outcome, he felt it was a good hard-fought game.
“We’ll pack up our stuff up and head down to Texas and see if we can regroup,” D’Antoni said.
Kelly ended the game with a double-double, leading both teams in points with 28 while Taylor added 21 points.
UAB was led by sophomore Dirk Williams, who scored a team-high 16 points. Lee and Nick Norton scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Marshall (11-11, 7-2) heads to El Paso, Texas to take on the University of Texas at El Paso (11-11, 3-6) 9 p.m. Thursday at the Don Haskins Center.
Brittanie Fowler can be contacted at [email protected].