MU ‘smacked in the mouth’ by Terrapins
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University men’s basketball received a reality check Friday night.
Big Ten Conference opponent University of Maryland (6-0) played with a lead for 31:31 of the 40-minute game and rocked the defending Conference USA champion 104-67 in front of 11,711 spectators at the 17,000-capacity Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland.
“We got smacked in the mouth and we didn’t react very well,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We stayed down on the canvas. We can’t be doing that. We have to come back out. We’ve had it happen to us a little bit occasionally, every now and then, but I was hoping it was in the past. Obviously, it was not.
“We have to come back out here and get our team back ready to go out and play and do a better job.”
Marshall (4-1) was within 34-32 with 5:24 left in the first half after back-to-back 3-point field goals by 6-foot-9 sophomore forward Jansson Williams. But Maryland used an eight-point run to go up 46-34 on its way to a 53-28 halftime edge.
Williams hit for a career-best 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting (5 for 6 on 3-pointers). He also had five rebounds
and blocked three shots before fouling out with 7:27 left in the game.
“Jannson was putting himself in places to score,” D’Antoni said. “He was in our offense and everything came out of it. We’re capable of doing that, all of them are, but for some reason we started looking at different things and doing different things.”
With Marshall struggling to get some offense, missing six shots and committing three turnovers, Maryland opened the second period with a 13-0 surge to take total command, 66-38, with 16:15 to go.
Senior point guard Jon Elmore, the Herd leader with a 23.0 average coming in, had six points, and his streak of consecutive games in double figures ended at 75. Elmore made 2 of 14 shots and was 1 for 6 on 3-point attempts.
C.J. Burks, a senior guard averaging 21.0 points, scored 10, the same as 6-7 sophomore Darius George, Burks and 6-5 freshman guard Taevion Kinsey.
Marshall connected on only 34.2 percent of its shots, was 8 for 31 on 3-point tries and sank 9 of 14 free throws.
“We quit doing our stuff,” D’Antoni said. “We started holding on to the ball and trying to make individual plays. That doesn’t work.”
Maryland’s 104 points included Preseason All-Big Ten junior guard Anthony Cowan popping in 26 and freshman guard Eric Ayala scoring 20. Bruno Fernando, a 6-10 sophomore, added 18 points and 16 rebounds and 6-10 freshman Jalen Smith added 10 points. The Terrapins made 57.4 percent of their shots and outrebounded the Herd 52-30.
Marshall’s 4-0 start was built with wins at home against teams from lesser conferences. The Herd fell short against a Big Ten foe.
“We landed on our butt,” D’Antoni said. “They brought us back down to earth.”
Marshall is back home for a 7 p.m. Wednesday game with William & Mary (2-4) in Cam Henderson Center.
William & Mary made a big comeback Saturday at home against St. Joseph’s after trailing 49-35 at halftime and by 20 early in the second period to win 87-85. Freshman guard Chase Audige tied the game 85-85 on a 3-point shot with 48 ticks left. Justin Pierce fed Nathan Knight for the winning layup with one second to go.
Knight, a 6-10, 245-pound junior, topped W&M’s scoring with 21. Pierce (6-7 junior) followed with 20 points and had 12 rebounds while 6-4 freshman Chase Audige also scored 20.
WILLIAM & MARY (2-4) at MARSHALL (4-1)
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Cam Henderson Center, Huntington
Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM, WMUL 88.1-FM