Herd men’s basketball uses strong second half to take down UAB


The Marshall University men’s basketball team used a dominating second half to defeat the UAB Blazers Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center by a final score of 74-59. With the win, Marshall moves to 15-11 overall and 8-5 in Conference USA play. The Blazers fall to 15-12 and 8-6 in Conference USA action. It was Marshall’s first win over the Blazers since 2012, and their first home win against UAB since January 19, 2008.

Junior guard Jon Elmore led the team in scoring with 25 points. He has now led or tied the team lead in scoring for the Herd this season 12 times. The team was also aided by sophomore forward Ajdin Penava’s first career double-double, as he finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Senior forward Ryan Taylor’s seven rebounds were enough to put him into the record books, placing him in the top ten all-time most career rebounding list in Conference USA history.

With the score tied at 34 all at half time, the Herd used two separate 8-0 runs, and a 7-0 run in the second half to run away from the Blazers. Although Marshall won for only the second time this season when scoring less than 80 points, the Herd also kept their opponents to 59 points, which is the least amount given up this season by Marshall.

“That was a great team win,” Elmore said. “We owed them one. We had two tough games last year against them, and they kind of whooped us down there this year. We really came together and showed what we could do tonight.”

Marshall had owed UAB one, the team has struggled against the Blazers in recent history. Although the team had not defeated UAB at home since 2008, the team had lost five times at home since then to the Blazers by six points or less.

“We’re a good team, and we can border on a really great team when we’re shooting the ball extremely well,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We have to play an extremely high percentage and performance. All of our stuff comes from execution. When we have the energy we showed tonight, then we’re going to become a very good team.”

Saturday presents Marshall with another challenge, as the Herd faces off with Middle Tennessee, who is currently in first place in the Conference USA standings. The Blue Raiders defeated the Herd 69-57 earlier this season in Murfreesboro.

“We have a test,” Elmore said. “Middle Tennessee is a great team, and they’re on a great run right now. If we continue to play like we have the past two games, we’ll be ready for them. Hopefully everybody will come out again and pack the Cam so the atmosphere will be electric so we’ll be fired up to have them. We’re definitely not scared of them.”
The game on Saturday will be nationally televised on American Sports Network, with tip-off set for 6 p.m.

Patrick O’Leary can be contacted at [email protected]