Blazers manhandle Marshall men, dropping Herd to 7th place in C-USA
HUNTINGTON — UAB put a hurtin’ on the Marshall Thundering Herd.
The UAB Blazers entered Cam Henderson Center for a Thursday night Conference USA men’s basketball game after losing their last three games at home and defeated Marshall on its home court, 77-68, in front of 5,521 spectators.
UAB (15-11, 7-6 C-USA) broke from a sixth-place tie with Marshall (13-13, 6-7), which is now in a tie for seventh. Marshall was 5-0 at the start of conference play and lost seven of its last eight games.
The Blazers pulled away by 17 with 10:17 left to play and the Herd attempted a comeback. Marshall whittled the deficit down to 67-65 with 3:06 remaining.
Turnovers were the big difference between two teams that made about the same percentage of their shots and were close in rebounds.
Marshall coughed up the basketball 15 times on turnovers that UAB turned into 17 points. UAB’s six turnovers resulted in just three Marshall points.
“Obviously I’m disappointed as heck,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Just lackadaisical.”
Makhtar Gueye of the Blazers, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward, led the victory with 19 points and 10 rebounds while 6-7 senior forward Lewis Sullivan also posted a double-double game with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Zack Bryant and senior guard Jalen Perry followed with 14 and 10 points respectively.
When Marshall wasn’t turning the basketball over, senior guard Jon Elmore managed 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Herd freshman forward Taevion Kinsey scored 10 of his 11 in the first nine-plus minutes and missed several minutes of action in the second half before returning with two stitches for a laceration in his right eyelid. Forward Jannson Williams, a 6-9 sophomore, pitched in 10 points, collected eight rebounds and blocked four shots. Senior guard C.J. Burks also scored 10.
“When we play like that, turn the ball over and get down by (17) it’s almost impossible to come back,” Elmore said. “We have to fight for 40 minutes.
Marshall began its bid to get back in the game after falling behind 61-44 on UAB guard Anderson McCoy’s only basket, a 3-point field goal. McCoy was hit with a technical foul following the shot. Elmore made one of two free throws on the technical and sophomore forward Darius George connected on a 3-point shot.
George rolled to the basket and dunked a feed from Burks that put the Herd within 61-50 with 8:38 to go. Burks fired in a corner 3-pointer and it was 61-53 and there was still 7:53 left.
Herd senior guard Rondale Watson drove for a basket with 3:27 remaining and George sank a pair of foul shots that made it a 67-65 difference with 3:06 left in the game.
UAB put it away by making five free throws in the final minute.
The Herd’s final game before C-USA pod scheduling begins is 2 p.m. Saturday at home against Middle Tennessee (10-16, 5-8) that fell Thursday at Western Kentucky, 71-63. The final four games of the regular season in pod play will become known Saturday.
Marshall and UAB played a Block Cancer game to raise awareness for prostrate cancer. Each C-USA school chose one league game as its Block Cancer event. The Herd and Blazers put on blue Block Cancer shirts for the pregame warmup and some of the coaches wore blue ties.
Spectators can donate to the initiative by texting GIVE to 855-662-2996 or online at mikeslivefoundation.org.
C-USA is a partner with the Mike Slive Foundation in the prostrate cancer drive. Slive was the first commissioner of C-USA, from 1995 to 2002. The foundation fights to eradicate prostate cancer through public awareness and research funding in memory of Slive, who died in May 2018.
Next game: Middle Tennessee (10-16, 5-8) at Marshall (13-13, 6-7)
When: 2 p.m. Thursday
Where: Cam Henderson Center, Huntington
TV: CBS Sports Network on Facebook
Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM, WMUL 88.1-FM