BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Junior guard Jon Elmore’s (Charleston, W.Va.) game-high 32 points helped stop a WKU second half surge and assisted in the Marshall men’s basketball team’s 84-79 victory against the Hilltoppers on Saturday at the E.A. Diddle Arena.
With the win, the Herd improved to 14-11 overall (7-5 Conference USA), while WKU fell to 12-13 overall (6-6 C-USA). It also marked Marshall’s regular season sweep over WKU. Senior guard Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) joined the 1,000-point club and is No. 6 in C-USA history in made 3-pointers for a career.
Elmore’s 32 points came from 10-of-16 field goals, 5-of-7 3-pointers and 7-of-8 free throws, and he added a career-high tying nine rebounds. Loop added 20 points and WKU’s Que Johnson led the Hilltoppers with 17 points.
After beginning the game tied at 3-3 at the 18:36 mark, Marshall’s offense took off and never looked back. It made a barrage of shots and jumped to a 17-point lead at the 12:44 point of action, giving the Herd a 26-9 lead. That run of play came from the courtesy of Loop, Elmore and Terrence Thompson (Durham, N.C.). In the process of jumping to the lead, Loop dunked to score his 1,001st career points. Marshall continued its run of play for the rest of the half and finished with a 49-34 lead at intermission.
The Herd shot 18-of-37 (48.6 percent) and made 9-of-15 (60.0 percent) of its 3-pointers, pulled down 20 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in the first half. Elmore led all scorers with 17 points in the opening half. WKU shot 14-of-34 (41.2 percent), made 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) of its three pointers, had two assists and pulled down 20 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The Herd continued its momentum in the second half, with MU jumping to a game-high 23-point lead at the 13:09 mark, which gave Marshall a 64-41 edge. WKU began to chip away the rest of the half and cut the Herd’s lead to 78-69 with 4:28 left to play. WKU would get as close as 3 points when Que Johnson made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Marshall’s lead to 82-70 with 51 seconds left on the clock. Jon Elmore iced the game with two free throws and Marshall won the game 84-79.
The Herd finished the game shooting 28-of-61 (45.9 percent) and 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) from three-point land. It also pulled down 36 rebounds and had 16 assists. Marshall outscored WKU 19-17 off turnovers and 10-7 from second-chance points. WKU shot 31-of-65 (47.7 percent) and made 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) 3-pointers. The Hilltoppers’ bench outscored Marshall’s, 21-4.
Head coach Dan D’Antoni
“With the first half and through 12 minutes in the second half, the execution, offensively, is as good as you can get. We were shooting around 60 percent from 3s and 50 percent from 2s. I just have to congratulate the kids. I hope the comeback is because they were on a three-game skid and when it gets tight, you have an uneasy feeling. They hit a couple of big 3-pointers in the end, but we came out with a win.”
On getting a win on the road:
“The biggest thing is we were making the right decisions. That’s what I’m impressed by. We’re going to shoot the ball. If we get those open looks, we’re going to shoot the ball very well. We were able to get those kind of shots with ball movement, good execution by the players and timely passes. When that happens, that will be a rare night if we lose that.”
On Jon Elmore’s game:
“Jon is a quality player. He’s only going to better. He’ll be here for another year and maybe two. I’m certainly enjoying it and he makes me a good coach.”
Austin Loop’s slam dunk in the first half marked his 1,000th career point.
When Justin Johnson scored his sixth point of the contest, there were six players that had scored 1,000 career points (all levels of college basketball) on the court. They were Marshall’s Ryan Taylor, Stevie Browning and Austin Loop and WKU’s Justin Johnson, Pancake Thomas and Que Johnson.
Austin Loop is now No. 5 all-time in made 3-pointers in C-USA.
Loop has made 268 career 3s.
Jon Elmore had his fourth game of the season with at least 30 points.
Only two Herd players (Elmore and Taylor) went to the free throw line. That was a season-low for Marshall.
The win was Marshall’s third road win of the season and WKU’s second loss at home this season.
Marshall has now defeated WKU in four consecutive contests.
For all the latest information about Marshall men’s basketball, follow @HerdMBB on Twitter and Instagram.
Marshall returns home to host the UAB Blazers on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. It will be nationally broadcasted by CBSSN.