Herd men’s basketball drops crucial conference game to UAB


Richard Crank

Marshall guard Jon Elmore (33) looks for a play call during a stoppage in the Thundering Herd’s game against WKU at the Cam Henderson Center.

Despite the Marshall men’s basketball team having four players score in double-digits, it wasn’t enough for it to conquer the UAB Blazers as it fell 77-68 Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center.

The Thundering Herd dropped to 13-13 (6-7 C-USA), while the Blazers improved to 15-11 (7-6 C-USA). The Herd has lost four straight games and seven of its last eight games.

“Obviously I’m disappointed as heck,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen us this lackadaisical. Other than that, I got nothing to say.”

Senior guard Jon Elmore led the Herd with 20 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Freshman guard Taevion Kinsey followed behind with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. Senior guard C.J. Burks and sophomore forward Jannson Williams finished with 10 points apiece.

“We can’t come out like that,” Elmore said. “Everybody wants to beat us and sees us losing games left and right. They want to come to our home court and embarrass us. That’s what happened to us.”

Marshall struggled throughout the entire game, making 40.4 percent (23-for-57) of its shots in field goals. The Herd fought for its three-point strategic success but failed to do so just making 10-of-30 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

“When we play like that and turn the ball over, get down, it’s almost impossible to win,” Elmore said. “When we flipped the switch and battled and fought and dove on the ground, rebounded, we cut the lead two to three points in five minutes.”

The Blazers made 40.6 percent (28-of-69) shots throughout the contest. It also trailed the Herd in three-pointers just making 30.4 percent (7-of-23).

UAB was led by sophomore forward Makhtar Gueye, who scored 19 points (8-of-14). Redshirt senior Lewis Sullivan contributed 16 points (7-of-14), sophomore guard Zack Bryant had 14 points (4-of-13) and senior guard Jalen Perry finished with 10 points (3-of-10) for the Blazers.

Coach D’Antoni said that he was not happy about the team’s overall attitude from the first player all the way to the 15th player. The spirit he had looked for within the team was not there.

“We got to be better all the way, all of us,” D’Antoni said. “There’s no strength. Life is about strength and passion, and you got to have it. There’s no look for the roses on this one.”

D’Antoni overall was not pleased with the outcome of the game and said he was livid. He said there is no focus and no ball control-sharpness.

“Marshall means too much for me not to go down with a fight,” D’Antoni said. “This was no fight.”

Elmore said that the Herd has to fight and compete the entire 40 minutes of playing time instead of its five to six-minute boosts in games.

“We have to look inward,” Elmore said. “There’s nobody that can help us. Coaching staff is trying their best, but at the end of the day, players make plays. We got to pick it up.”

The Herd looks to bounce back in its final regular conference game of the season on Saturday afternoon against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Cam Henderson Center. Following the game, the Herd will know what pod it will be in for its last four bonus conference games beginning on Feb. 23.

“We have to be sharp,” D’Antoni said. “We’re capable of doing that. Yeah, got to be prepped for every game, so get prepped. That’s the way I looked at it.”

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].