Herd tops Hampton, to play for CIT title
HUNTINGTON - Marshall seniors Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks only wanted one thing on Tuesday night.
They wanted the chance to end their college careers playing for a championship on their home floor.
Both put forth efforts to get that opportunity on Tuesday, with Elmore scoring a game-high 28 points and Burks adding 17, including four crucial free throws down the stretch, to give Marshall an 80-78 win over Hampton in the CIT Semifinals at Cam Henderson Center.
With the win, Marshall hosts the CIT Championship at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening.
Marshall led by double-digits at halftime, but had to overcome a late rally from Hampton (18-17) that produced a 72-69 lead following a 3-pointer from Kalin Fisher with 4:58 left.
Hampton’s ability to take care of the basketball fueled its comeback. The Pirates finished with just three turnovers on the evening.
However, Hampton’s lone turnover of the second half came at a crucial time as Jarrod West forced a steal before Elmore hit Burks for a layup that gave the Herd a 76-74 lead.
Burks finished with 10 of the final 11 points for Marshall (22-14).
It was the final major run in a game full of them.
Hampton took a 33-23 lead following a layup with 7:49 remaining in the first half, but point guard Jermaine Marrow was called for a technical foul as the teams went to the bench for a timeout.
The technical flipped momentum as the Herd allowed just one field goal in the rest of the half and Elmore got hot on the offensive end.
Elmore scored 23 of his 28 points in the first-half - 17 of which came during a 28-5 run to end the half as Marshall went to the locker room with a 51-38 lead.
In addition to Elmore and Burks, Marshall got 12 points and nine rebounds from Jannson Williams.
Trevond Barnes led Hampton with 18 points and Fisher added 16. Marrow had 15 points while Greg Heckstall added 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Pirates.