WKU rallies late to defeat Marshall
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University turned a late 14-point run into a 68-59 victory against the Marshall Thundering Herd in Conference USA men’s basketball Monday night before an E.A. Diddle Arena turnout of 6,369 spectators.
It was the first conference defeat for Marshall (12-7, 5-1) that slipped into a first-place tie with North Texas (17-2, 5-1). Marshall continues a stretch of playing five times in 10 days with a 9 p.m. Thursday contest at Louisiana Tech (13-7, 3-4).
Marshall had a 53-46 lead when Jannson Williams caught a lob pass from Taevion Kinsey for a dunk with 6:18 to go.
Western Kentucky (10-9, 3-3) took off after that.
Lamonte Bearden, Josh Anderson, Charles Bassey scored consecutive baskets -- two of them resulting from Herd turnovers -- before Anderson took a steal for a dunk and a 54-53 lead. Bassey made two foul shots and Anderson scored four straight points on a tip-in and two foul shots that put the Hilltoppers ahead, 60-53, with 1:37 remaining.
“We slowed down offensively then relaxed a little bit defensively,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We’ve got to keep this game helter skelter.”
Marshall’s C.J. Burks stopped the WKU run with a driving basket, but Anderson followed with a layup and WKU had a 62-55 edge with 1:13 left.
Anderson popped in 25 points for WKU and Bassey contributed 17 points and 17 rebounds. Taveion Hollingsworth scored 10 with 6-for-6 free throw shooting. The Hilltoppers hit 41.8 percent from the field (4 of 18 on 3-pointers) and made 18 off 22 free throw attrempts.
Jon Elmore and Burks topped the Marshall scoring with 17 and 13 respectively. Williams scored nine and Jarrod West added eight for the Herd that made only 35.5 percent of its shots (8-for-32 on 3-pointers) and was 7-for-10 at the foul line.
The Hilltoppers turned the basketball over 21 times and the Herd had 16 turnovers.
Marshall opened t he game missing its first 13 attempts from the 3-point line before Darius George, Jon Elmore and Jarrod West connected in the closing minutes of the first half to put the visitors ahead, 25-24. Western Kentucky committed 15 turnovers in the half.
The hot shooting continued into the second period when Elmore made a pair of 3-point shots and Jannson Williams connected for one that lifted Marshall to its biggest advantage at 34-26 with 17:43 left in the game.
Western Kentucky battled back for a 46-46 tie after an Anderson 3-pointer before West sank another 3-point shot, Burks scored on a drive and Williams dunked to give Marshall the seven-point lead.
MARSHALL (12-7, 5-1) AT LOUISIANA TECH (13-7, 3-4)
WHEN: 9 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Thomas Assembly Center, Ruston, La.
TV: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM