Elmore brings home record-setting game ball
HUNTINGTON - Jon Elmore came home Monday with the basketball he used to become the all-time Conference USA men’s scoring leader.
The University of North Texas presented the Marshall University senior guard with the game ball Sunday after his 20-point performance in the Thundering Herd’s 85-82 victory over the Mean Green in Denton, Texas, that put him into the record book as C-USA’s career points leader.
Elmore reached 2,471 points in the 125th game of his fourth Marshall season, breaking the record of 2,456 set by former UTEP guard Stefon Jackson from 2006 to 2009. With a minimum of three games left in his career Elmore is 103 points shy of the Herd record of 2,574 set by Skip Henderson from 1984-88.
The C-USA assists record also belongs to the Charleston native with 738 and he is the only player from all NCAA Division I conferences who holds both marks.
He averages 20.1 points this season and 19.8 in his career. His assist averages are 4.9 and 5.9 respectively.
“It’s remarkable the career he’s had here,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said on his Monday night radio show.
Marshall’s team was delayed getting back from the game because of mechanical issues with a chartered flight Sunday night and arrived Monday afternoon. A few hours after landing, Elmore was announced as the C-USA Player of the Week for the first time this season and the fifth award in his career.
The Herd (16-13, 9-7 C-USA) is at home for its final two regular season games in conference bonus play and has already defeated both opponents this season. FIU (18-11, 9-7) visits for a 7 p.m. Wednesday game in Cam Henderson Center and Florida Atlantic (17-12, 8-8) is in town for a noon Saturday matchup on Senior Day for Elmore, guard C.J. Burks, guard Rondale Watson and forward Christian Thieneman.
“We want to finish strong and we need everybody’s help packing the Henderson Center to do that,” Elmore said following the Saturday victory at North Texas.
Marshall won a Jan. 19 home game against FIU, 105-97, following a Jan. 17 win at home against Florida Atlantic, 96-84.
In pod two of the bonus play schedule it’s defending champion Marshall, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech and North Texas competing for seeds six to 10 at the C-USA Tournament next week in Frisco, Texas.
Marshall had a rocky start Saturday, trailing 13-0 after only 2:46 of the game. The Herd trailed 26-13 at 9:07 of the first half when Elmore was fouled on a 3-point field goal attempt. He made all three free throws to set the conference record.
North Texas (20-10, 8-9) took a 43-31 lead to halftime.
The Herd outscored the Mean Green, 54-39 in the second period when freshman forward Taevion Kinsey scored 16 of his 19 points, Burks added 12 to his 21-point total and Elmore tallied 11 of his 20.
“We came out and jumped on them early,” Elmore said about the second half surge. “We played phenomenal in the second half. The energy was much better defensively and rebounding. Just a phenomenal team win.”
Marshall shot 50 percent in the second half and was 6-for-12 on 3-point shot after halftime because it was moving the ball, D’Antoni said.
The Herd chipped away the deficit and went ahead for good on Kinsey’s three-point play, 62-59, with 10:14 left in the game. North Texas fought back to within 82-80 with 25 seconds remaining, but the Herd held on to hand the Mean Green its sixth consecutive defeat.
The Mean Green was paced by freshman guard Umoja Gibson’s 21 points senior guard Jorden Duffy with 20.
FIU (18-11, 9-7) at Marshall (16-13, 9-7)
7 p.m. Wednesday
Cam Henderson Center
Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM, WMUL 88.1-FM