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MU defense gets 12 steals, shows versatility

November 17, 2018

HUNTINGTON - Marshall University made headlines with its 3-point field goal shooting Wednesday night, but the Thundering Herd defense deserved some credit.

Marshall (3-0) tied the school record by making 19 of its 3-point shots in a 98-75 victory against Mount St. Mary’s (0-3) in Cam Henderson Center. The Herd attempted 45 3-pointers, a school record. Senior guard Jon Elmore’s 24 points led the way and his seven 3-point baskets put his career total at 252 to pass Tamar Slay (1998-02) for second in the school records.

“That’s who we are,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Take that away and we’ll go inside. Really what we do is based on what the defense does. They allowed us to have shots from the outside and we started - after about the first 12 minutes - making them.”

Marshall also benefited from the Mountaineers coughing up the basketball 24 times on turnovers, which the Herd turned into 33 gift points.

Sophomore guard Jarrod West played a role in the defense, harassing the Mount St. Mary’s guards into missing shots and making four of the 12 steals Marshall had.

West also had a season-high 14 points, grabbed three defensive rebounds and delivering three assists.

“I get frustrated when my man scores or when I’m in foul trouble,” said the 5-foot-11 West after getting called for four personal fouls in 26 minutes of action. “I think I did a pretty good job creating some havoc, so that’s good for our team.”

Marshall took care of the ball, with a season-low nine turnovers, while Mount St. Mary’s didn’t.

“Twenty-four turnovers - that’s great defensively,” West said. “In the first half, we forced a lot of turnovers, but they still got a lot of easy buckets. We couldn’t allow that. The second half, we locked in. In the first 10 minutes, I looked up and they had like seven points.

“We were playing very good defense. Forcing those turnovers and being able to score off those turnovers helped us a lot.”

West said forcing 24 and having only nine with the way Marshall plays an up-tempo game and rotated 12 players in and out was a good number.

Elmore (24.7 scoring average) and senior guard C.J. Burks (23.0) who netted 16 have combined to score 143 of the 279 points for Marshall this season. Jannson Williams, a 6-9 sophomore forward, pitched in 10 points and snagged five rebounds. Senior guard Rondale Watson had five points, eight rebounds and 10 assists to receive Player of the Game laurels from D’Antoni.

“It was a great win,” Elmore said. “The ball was moving, it wasn’t sticking. We got a lot of open shots, got a lot of dunks, alley-oops. That’s the way we want to play.”

Marshall has defeated Hofstra (76-72) and Mount St. Mary’s in the Global Sports Classic, a four-game exempt event that counts as only two games against the schedule limit. Remaining games in the event are Monday at home with North Carolina A&T and Friday, Nov. 23, at Maryland.

North Carolina A&T has losses at Maryland (82-59) and Hofstra (92-72) in addition to defeats against UNC Greensboro (74-66) and at Wake Forest (90-78).

Rucker signs with Herd: Cape Henry Collegiate School forward Dajour Rucker signed a National Letter of Intent with the Marshall men’s basketball program, according to the school’s Twitter post.

Rucker, a 6-7, 225-pound senior, averaged 19.9 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots a game last season for the school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is a two-time All-Tidewater selection by The Virginian-Post newspaper of Norfolk, Virginia.

He made a commitment in May. Marshall hasn’t released the signing.

North Carolina A&T (0-4) at Marshall (3-0)

7 p.m., Monday, Cam Henderson Center, Huntington

TV: ESPN+

Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, WMUL 88.1-FM

Tickets: www.HerdZone.com

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