Herd wins; Elmore sets C-USA record
DENTON, Texas — Marshall University won and Jon Elmore broke the Conference USA all-time scoring record on a good Sunday for Thundering Herd men’s basketball.
North Texas led by 14 in the first half, and Marshall came back for an 85-82 victory in The Super Pit (10,500 capacity) where attendance was 3,108.
Elmore’s 20 points gave him the C-USA record of 2,471. The existing mark held by Stefon Jackson of UTEP (2006-09) was 2,456. Elmore also added two assists for 738 in his career, a C-USA mark he already held.
The conference record fell after Elmore was fouled on a 3-point attempt at 9:07 of the first half and he connected on all three free throws. He is the only NCAA Division I player to hold scoring and assists records in any conference, according to Chuck McGill’s research for HerdZone.com.
With a minimum of three games left in his career Elmore is 103 points shy of the Herd record of 2,574 set by Skip Henderson from 1984-88.
“I’ve just been very fortunate to have a lot of great teammates,” Elmore said in a post-game radio interview. “A lot of guys put me in good, advantageous situations. Great staff. Great family. I’ve been blessed.”
Head coach Dan D’Antoni said it will be hard playing next season without the 6-foot-3 point guard from Charleston, but he has other good players coming up.
Marshall (16-13 overall) is very much in the running for the sixth seed in the C-USA Tournament with a 9-7 league record and two games remaining, both at home. FIU (18-11, 9-7) is at Cam Henderson Center for a 7 p.m. Wednesday game and Florida Atlantic (17-12, 8-8) visits at noon Saturday when it will be Senior Day for Elmore, guard C.J. Burks, guard Rondale Watson and forward Christian Thieneman.
The Herd notched its third consecutive victory after also winning on the road Thursday at Louisiana Tech, 90-79.
Burks scored 21 for the Herd and freshman forward Taevion Kinsey came from off the bench for 19. Sophomore guard Jarrod West tossed in nine points and 6-foot-9 sophomore guard Mikel Beyers had seven points, five rebounds and two blocked shots.
Starting forward Jannson Williams, a 6-9 sophomore, had two points in only nine minutes of action.
Elmore and West shared team honors with six rebounds while Burks delivered four assists.
North Texas freshman guard Umoja Gibson scored 21 and senior guard Jorden Duffy hit for 20 while senior guard Michael Miller had 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
The North Texas Mean Green (20-10, 8-9) came out firing in its final home game and made its first five shots while Marshall missed its first five and had a 13-0 lead after only 2:46 of the contest. The Mean Green extended its edge to 23-9 with 11:01 left in the first half.
“We just didn’t come out,” D’Antoni said. “We came out with that same funk and we ended up letting them shoot 48 percent. The second half we put them down (44 percent) It’s all energy. I hope this game will emphasize how important that is.”
North Texas slumped to its sixth straight loss after reaching 20 wins Feb. 7 in a 78-51 defeat of Marshall in The Super Pit.
Elmore said everybody was fired up after intense halftime talks by D’Antoni and assistant coach Scott Rigot when the Mean Green was holding a 43-31 edge.
An Elmore 3-point basket pulled the Herd closer early in period two, followed by West making a 3-pointer and Elmore connecting again as the gap closed to 46-44. Marshall was playing with five guards in the game when Watson and Kinsey nailed 3-pointers to give the Herd its first lead, 50-49, with 14:16 remaining.
North Texas regained the lead and went ahead by three before West drove for a layup and a 59-59 tie at 10:45. Kinsey completed a three-point play and Burks made a steal for a layup with 9:26 left that put Marshall ahead for good. The lead reached 75-66 on a Burks drive with 3:53 to go.
North Texas clawed back as close as two points in the final minute, but Burks and Kinsey made foul shots that secured the win.
FIU (18-11, 9-7) at Marshall (16-13, 9-7)
7 p.m. Wednesday
Cam Henderson Center
Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM, WMUL 88.1-FM