The Marshall University men’s basketball team won a thriller Saturday on senior night over North Texas by a final score of 106-104. The game featured nine lead changes, including the final scoring change with senior Ryan Taylor’s layup with 6.9 seconds to go to give Marshall the lead. The Herd was down 104-99 with 1:26 to go, but Taylor scored the final seven points for Marshall to get the win for the Herd.
North Texas (8-22, 2-16 Conference USA) held as much as a 13 point lead in the contest, including the five point lead with 1:26 remaining. Two turnovers and two missed free throws marked the Mean Green’s scoring drought over the final stretch of the game. Marshall (17-14, 10-8 Conference USA) overcame its largest halftime deficit in a win as the team was down eight at intermission. The team also won only its second game this season when giving up 100+ points.
The game was a fitting way to send out the three Marshall seniors who head coach Dan D’Antoni said “will always be remembered at Marshall.” The three seniors, who were honored prior to Saturday’s game, all scored double figures. Ryan Taylor had the best night scoring-wise with his 39th career double-double. He scored 29 points, including the final seven, and had 10 rebounds. Stevie Browning registered 14 points and Austin Loop added 12.
“These three kids started that positive feeling about the program and the city and university,” D’Antoni said. “That starts a winning attitude which is infectious. People have to believe in these kids, they have to buy into all that they’re bringing. We have a great chance here at Marshall to becoming a high mid-major team and bringing in people here that can take us as far as we can go.”
A key moment in the game overshadowed by the late-game dramatics was junior Jon Elmore scoring his 1,000th career point. He had 19 on the night, but only needed nine to hit 1,000. Taylor, who finished his Marshall career in the Cam Henderson Center, said following the game that it “felt good to get the win” in the back-and-forth game.
“I just didn’t want to lose,” Taylor said. “We went down to Charlotte and beat them on their senior night and I didn’t want to feel that after our senior night. It was a big time game. We won, that’s all that matters.”
With the win, and a UAB loss, Marshall is locked into the six seed for next week’s Conference USA tournament. The team will likely begin against Florida Atlantic, a team Marshall defeated in Boca Raton, Florida by a score of 89-72 in January. The Herd finishes out its home schedule 13-3, which is the most home wins by Marshall since the 2011-12 season.
Patrick O’Leary can be contacted at [email protected]