Men’s basketball heads to Texas for contests at North Texas, Rice

The Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball team is looking to get back into the winning column with its upcoming road trip to Texas this week, coming off a 116-106 overtime loss to UTSA.

The Herd (13-10, 6-4 C-USA) is looking to hand the North Texas Mean Green (19-4, 7-3 C-USA) a loss in Thursday night’s matchup in Denton, Texas.

Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said that every conference game is going to be tough.

“Every game is important,” D’Antoni said. “They’re all going to be close. Every possession (of the ball) is important.”

For the Herd, Elmore leads the team averaging 20.6 points per game. Burks follows behind with 18.4 points per game.  Sophomore forward Jannson Williams averages 8.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and two blocks per contest. Freshman guard Taevion Kinsey has contributed 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. Senior guard Rondale Watson has added 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds for the team. Sophomore guard Jarrod West has focused on defense, averaging 2.4 steals per game.

“We got to execute a little bit better on defense,” Elmore said. “If we’re making you take contested one-on-one shots, that’s kind of what we want to do. We’ll just go back to the drawing board and keep improving.”  

Watson said that he agrees that every ball possession is important for the Herd. 

“We got to take advantage of every game and every opportunity,” Watson said. “We’re going to be ready. We understand how tough that environment is.”

Sophomore forward Mikel Beyers said the Herd is ready to move on despite the loss against UTSA.

“We’re ready for North Texas,” Beyers said. “We’ll have a few good days to scout and be ready for them on Thursday.”

For the Mean Green, six players average double figures in points. Junior guard Ryan Woolridge leads the team with 12.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Redshirt freshman guard Umoja Gibson adds 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.2 steals. Junior guard Roosevelt Smart scores 11.3 points and senior guard Michael Miller has 11.2 points with 4.8 rebounds. Sophomore forward Zachary Simmons and senior guard Jorden Duffy average 10.7 and 10.4 points per game, respectively.

“They (UNT) play hard,” D’Antoni said. “We’ve had a little tougher road than they have. They’re a good ball club and they finished strong last year. (Their) coach has done a nice job. They’re going to play hard and it will be a tough contest.”

Following the North Texas matchup, the Herd will travel to Houston, Texas where it will take on the Rice Owls on Saturday night.

Tipoff in the first of two games this weekend is set for 8 p.m. EST Thursday at the UNT Coliseum, also known as “The Super Pit” in Denton, Texas, with Saturday’s matchup at the Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston also set for 8 p.m. EST.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].