RUSTON, La. – A go-ahead free throw from Louisiana Tech’s Derric Jean with 34 seconds left helped the Bulldogs defeat the Marshall men’s basketball team, 94-90, on Saturday evening at the Thomas Assembly Center.
With the loss, Marshall falls to 13-11 overall, 6-5 C-USA, while Louisiana Tech rose to 16-8 overall, 8-3 C-USA.
Senior guards Stevie Browning (Logan, W.Va.) and Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) had 15 points each. Jon Elmore (Charleston, W.Va.) collected his sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 assists. The Bulldogs’ Erik McCree led all scorers with 30 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
After the teams began the contest evenly matched, the Herd jumped to a six-point lead at the 15:12 mark to make the score 17-11. From there, the Herd continued its momentum and went on a 13-10 run and made it 30-21 with 9:44 to go. Louisiana Tech battled back and made it a one-point game at 4:44 to make it 39-38, Herd. The teams traded buckets for the rest of the first half, but Marshall closed out the period with a Loop 3-pointer to give Marshall a 52-48 lead after 20 minutes.
Loop had a team-high 12 points in the first half, while Browning added eight points of his own. Terrence Thompson (Durham, N.C.) pulled down five rebounds, while Elmore had five assists. McCree scored 12 points and pulled down a team-high four rebounds for Louisiana Tech.
Marshall shot 18-of-32 (56.3 percent) and 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) from three-point land. The Herd averaged 10.2 threes a game coming into the game. Marshall also pulled down 19 rebounds and dished out 14 assists. The Bulldogs shot 18-of-40 (45.0 percent) and 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from behind the arc. It also pulled down 18 rebounds and had 12 assists.
La. Tech battled for the second half and the teams were tied at 88-88 at the 1:52 mark. The Bulldogs’ Omar Sherman’s jumper made it 90-88 with 54 seconds to go, but Jean made what would eventually be the game-winning layup with 34 seconds left on the clock. Elmore would make it 91-90 with 26 seconds left, but the Herd’s comeback fell short and Marshall fell, 94-90.
Head coach Dan D’Antoni
“You know what’s good? It’s that we are back. That’s us. I didn’t know where we were the last two games. This time, we came back. We had some wide open looks. Jon [Elmore], that last shot, was a point-blank layup. Ryan [Taylor] had a point-blank layup. We could’ve gone two up. I can handle that. It’s hard. I want to win to win every game. Ajdin [Penava] had a good look, but he has to learn to take it stronger. He cannot just think he can make a layup. We’ll just keep working at. We just have to keep playing like that. If we keep playing like that we’ll go far at the end of the year.”
On almost winning:
“Our ball movement was much better. Ryan missed some uncharacteristic plays. We can’t help that we’re not deep enough. We have some guys who need to step up. We didn’t quite make it here. I like what I saw. We have a good chance from now. We have a tough road trip coming against WKU. They’re very athletic, but we have to keep this mojo going. After a two-day hiatus, it looks like we captured it back and we are playing Marshall basketball.
“We should have won at the end. We had a bad break with Ajdin. There was a bad drop, but things happen. We were up by 10 points, but we had four bad breaks. We tried to grind it out and came close, but we couldn’t do it.”
Austin Loop’s six three-pointers moved him into the top 10 all-time list in C-USA for made 3-pointers. He currently has 262 made shots from behind the arc.
Loop is tied for seventh all-time in C-USA.
Jon Elmore had his sixth double-double of the season. He leads C-USA with six double-doubles with points and assists.
The Herd’s 23 assists were a season-high for a game it lost.
Six players for Marshall scored double figure points.
Every Herd player (eight) that saw action on the floor made at least one field goal.
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Marshall will stay on the road next week and take on the WKU Hilltoppers on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. ET.