Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Marshall 92, Texas-San Antonio 71 ; Defense Sharp in Herd Romp over Utsa

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Marshall 92, Texas-San Antonio 71 ; Defense Sharp in Herd Romp over Utsa

Article excerpt

HUNTINGTON - At times, Marshall players bewildered their opponents with the fast break, rapid ball movement and a bushel of 3- point goals. But in the Thundering Herd's 92-71 victory Thursday night over Texas-San Antonio, there were a few nods to the defense. The effort on that end of the floor contributed as much as anything to a 21-point halftime lead.

The crowd of 5,297 at Cam Henderson Center enjoyed the effort on both ends.

"I thought our defense was stellar, said Herd coach Dan D'Antoni. "They usually shoot a little better - they're not a great offensive team but they do shoot better than 11 percent from 3 [2 of 18] and 38 percent from 2.

The Herd (13-8 overall, 6-2 Conference USA) scored the first 10 points and led by double digits for the last 30:54. Austin Loop hit six 3-pointers for 18 points, leading all scorers.

He hit four of those in the first half, including a cold-blooded corner shot in transition at the buzzer that set the halftime score at 45-24.

Coach Steve Henson's Roadrunners (9-11, 4-3) seemed powerless then, and at several other times.

"Even at the end of the half, we held it, Henson said. "We knew there was a shot-clock differential there. We held it as long as we could, got a pretty good look ourselves and they still came down and got a 3 at the end of the half.

UTSA shot just 33.3 percent in the first half and misfired on all six 3-point tries. Much more telling, the Roadrunners committed 11 turnovers that led to 12 MU points.

"A lot of hands, Henson said of MU's defense. "We had some possessions where I thought we were beating their guy and we had a little advantage [but] they got their hands in there, slapped a lot of balls away from us.

"We just weren't strong enough after we beat that guy off the initial penetration to finish the move. & They wanted to speed us up a bit, and they did.

The Herd stamped out the smallest glimmer of Roadrunner hope with a 13-0 run early in the second half. Three of the baskets came on fast breaks, Ryan Taylor nailed a 3-pointer and Jon Elmore scored four points driving to the rim.

That made it 62-32, and the Herd owned two other 30-point leads, 73-43 and 75-45. When Loop his his sixth 3-pointer with 5:45 left, D'Antoni all but cleared his bench.

That had some crowd-pleasing results, as local shooter Jacob Kilgore hit a 3-pointer and Ot Elmore, Jon's brother, hit two.

Jon Elmore had 12 points and 10 assists, his fifth double-double of the season. Three other Herd players scored in double figures - Stevie Browning (13), Taylor (12) and Ajdin Penava (10). Taylor led the Herd with nine rebounds.

Marshall finished at 47.1 percent from the floor and 13 of 34 from 3-point range, and 13 of 18 from the free-throw line. UTSA didn't help its cause from the line, hitting just 9 of 21.

One area of mild concern was rebounding, which the Roadrunners led 54-43. D'Antoni was concerned, to a point.

"I sat there in Phoenix, first year, I was there, we got outrebounded 62 out of the 82 games, D'Antoni, recalling his NBA coaching days. …

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