CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After senior guard Stevie Browning (Logan, W.Va.) missed the last game with an injury, he came back to score a game-high 27 points and help lead the Marshall Thundering Herd past the Charlotte 49ers in a 93-89 victory on Saturday at the Halton Arena.
With the win, Marshall improved to 16-13 overall (9-7 in C-USA), while Charlotte fell to 12-15 overall (6-10 C-USA).
Along with his 27 points, Browning added five rebounds and two assists. Junior guard Jon Elmore (Charleston, W.Va.) added 26 points and seven assists, while senior forward Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) collected his 38th career double-double from 15 points and 13 boards. Ajdin Penava (Bosnia) collected his second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Charlotte’s Anthony VanHook added 21 points.
The Herd jumped to an 18-5 lead at the 14:37 mark thanks to the efforts of Elmore, Taylor, Browning and Penava. That lead would not last, as Charlotte battled back to tie it with 5:48 left of the first half. That run would continue for the rest of the half and give the 49ers a 48-41 lead at the break.
Marshall shot 16-of-30 (53.3 percent) field goals, 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) 3-pointers and 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) at the free throw line in the first half. It also pulled down 17 rebounds and dished out nine assists. Elmore had a team-high 14 points from six layups and two free throws. Taylor pulled down a team-high six rebounds. The Herd out-scored the 49ers, 24-20 in the paint.
Charlotte shot 18-of-34 (52.9 percent) FGs, 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from 3-point land and shot 8-of-10 (80.0 percent) at the charity stripe. The 49ers out-scored Marshall, 17-8, off turnovers. VanHook led all scorers with 15 points by halftime.
The Herd eventually tied the game at 68-68 with 10:53 to go thanks to an Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) 3-pointer. The Herd eventually took the lead, but a Andrien White layup cut it to two with 10 seconds to go. Elmore was fouled after collecting and inbound pass and iced the game with his two free throws. Marshall completed the comeback and won 93-89.
The Herd finished the game shooting 31-of-59 (52.5 percent) field goals, 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) from 3-point land and shot 23-of-31 (74.2 percent) at the line. Marshall also pulled down 43 rebounds and had 13 assists. Charlotte shot 34-of-79 (48.6 percent) field goals, 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) 3-pointers and 16-of-22 (72.7 percent) at the line.
Head coach Dan D’Antoni
“I had to work way too hard on that one. Sometimes we lose our focus, especially offensively. Defensively, we weren’t that bad, but offensively we need to be focused. Ryan Taylor needs to step up and understand he has to lead this team. We just haven’t had our mojo. When you win a game like this, sometimes something will click. We’re going to home for two good games. If we win two games, hopefully our mojo will be back and we’ll be a little more fluid. We can take this thing. We just need to be back to who we are.”
On Stevie Browning’s returning:
“He made some big shots, especially towards the end. We missed him. We’re not as deep as I would like us to be. We have a lot of young guys. We are getting better. He had a super game and I’m proud of him.”
On the Marshall comeback:
“I told them at halftime, ‘We have 17 turnovers. If we limit that, then we should be winning. Our defense was good, but we were allowing our offense allowed Charlotte to be really good at their offense. We just have to get better. We aren’t moving like we need to be. I’m hoping this game will get us out of a funk and lead to more wins.”
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Marshall will return to the Henderson Center for its final home series of the regular season when it hosts the Rice Owls on Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m.