The Parthenon

Marshall reigns victorious, defeats West Virginia Tech 99-81

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Though the Marshall men’s basketball team has lost some familiar faces with the departures of Kyrie Allison, Terrence Thomson, Steve Browning, Austin Loop and Ryan Taylor, the team secured its first exhibition win of the season Sunday, with a 99-81 victory over West Virginia Tech.

In the first half of the contest, Marshall’s three point shooting abilities were on display, connecting on eight first half three pointers. The Thundering Herd shot 45 percent from the field in the first half while their opponents shot 32 percent. Jon Elmore finished the first half with 14 points, shooting three of seven from behind the arc. Sophomore guard C.J. Burks also added nine first half points, three rebounds and three assists to help to the Herd take a 47-24 lead into the locker room at the half.

The second half was reminiscent of the first. Marshall continued to roll offensively down the stretch. Freshman newcomer Jarrod West looked promising in his debut in Huntington, finishing with 16 points, five of 11 from the field with four three pointers made. Four of the Herd’s five starters managed to end the game with double digit point totals, Penava with 14, West with 16, Elmore with 18 and Burks with a game high 23 points.

“C.J. Burks was outstanding and I think he’s going to have a great year,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Jon (Elmore) is one of the best. He plays and you can see that he’s a great player. Penava, I thought he was starting to feel his legs a little bit. He’s starting to move, and you can see him handling the ball and he can take it outside. He’s going to shoot better.”

Marshall led for 35:41, made 18 three pointers, one shy of tying a team record, and its largest lead was 29 points mid-way through the second half.

“West is pretty good,” D’Antoni said. “That guy plays like a senior. If he stays that way, we have found a real solid piece. Our shooting was jittery. We are going to shoot the ball really well. We have really good shooters. We shoot better overall this year than we did last year and that’s just a rhythm, getting into rhythm with the offense.”

Burks finished the game with 23 points and managed to shoot 8-10 from the floor and 5-7 from deep. He also added four rebounds and four assists.

“I definitely took a lot of time to get in the gym and work on my own to get my shooting where it needed to be,” Burks said. “Coach corrected my shot a little bit, so that helped a lot. But it was also me taking it upon myself to get it better to where it needs to be.”

The Herd closes its exhibition schedule Nov. 5 when it takes on West Virginia Wesleyan at the Cam Henderson Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Kyle Curley can be contacted at [email protected]

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