Burks’ basket, Beyers’ block send Marshall past Charlotte


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – C.J. Burks made a driving layup with 32 seconds left and Mikel Beyers blocked Jon Davis’ last-ditch 3-pointer to send Marshall (9-6, 2-0 C-USA) to an 85-84 win over Charlotte (3-10, 0-2 C-USA) Saturday at Halton Arena.


Burks drove the baseline and got his game-winning basket past the outstretched arms of Bo Blight and Davis’ two three-point attempts fell short, with Beyers swatting the last one away.


Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said, “Our kids gutted it out. C.J. hit a big shot and Mikel Beyers had a big block.”


Marshall got off to a quick start and led by as many as 11 in the first half, using backdoor cuts and 3-pointers to build a double-digit lead. Burks scored a team-high 17 in the first half, while Kinsey and Elmore added nine points apiece.


Burks said, “We knew we were going to have to lock in and play well in this game. We all knew what it took to win and this win means a lot.”


Charlotte, despite 10 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, closed the half by making five of its last seven shots to trim the deficit to four, 46-42. Davis and Milos Supica combined for 32 of the 49ers’ 42 points in the opening stanza.


“(Charlotte) has a good history of basketball and a good coach here,” D’Antoni said. “I’m sure they’re going to do well.”


After Blight, a walk-on forward, hit a 3-pointer to give Charlotte its first lead of the game minutes into the second half, Marshall responded with an extended run capped by a 3-pointer by Rondale Watson and a layup by Beyers, putting Marshall back in front by eight, 70-62.


Taevion Kinsey, who made his second career start, said, “We played hard, played together and played smart. There were some downfalls in there but us staying together as a team really kept us in (the game).


Davis hit a layup late in the contest to give Charlotte an 80-79 lead but Burks hit layups on two of Marshall’s final three possessions, with Kinsey knocking down a free throw in between. Beyers’ block in the final second of the contest gave the Herd its sixth straight win over the 49ers and ensured a 2-0 start in Conference USA play for the fourth straight season.


Davis led all scorers with 37 points and added seven assists and five rebounds, while Supica had a career-high 23 for the 49ers, along with five rebounds and three assists.


Burks paced Marshall with 25 points and was one of four Herd players in double-figures. Burks also added four rebounds and four assists. Jon Elmore finished with 16 points and five assists, Kinsey added 14 points and five rebounds and Jannson Williams scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds.


Marshall returns home for the first time in over a month when it takes on preseason conference favorite Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12


“We’re going to need to have everyone there next Saturday night with Western (Kentucky) coming in,” D’Antoni said.