Elmore’s engagement, double-double end regular season with Herd win


Richard Crank

Marshall guard Jon Elmore (33) raises his arms in celebration during the Thundering Herd’s 15-point win over Florida Atlantic at the Cam Henderson Center on Mar. 9, 2019.

Marshall’s senior day began slowly Saturday afternoon in the Cam Henderson Center but the Thundering Herd shook off the early nerves to defeat Florida Atlantic, 76-61, erasing a 17-point first half deficit in the process.

“Obviously (it’s) a little emotional again,” Marshall head basketball coach Dan D’Antoni said following the game, which saw his first full recruiting class, consisting of guards Rondale Watson, C.J. Burks and Jon Elmore, along with forward Christian Thieneman, honored before the game.

“We started out a little slow,” D’Antoni said. “The first time out (the players) came over and I gave them some words of inspiration. They came out fired up, went after it and moved the ball.”

Similarly, Elmore said that the Herd started off a little sluggish.

“We started off a little slow,” Elmore said. “But we really locked in defensively. I know we weren’t hitting a lot of shots early, but I think that was just adrenaline and being a little jumpy from the pregame.”

Elmore, who proposed to girlfriend Tori Dent before the game, finished with the lone double-double of the contest, compiling 16 points and 10 rebounds, plus a fiance. Dent, a former Marshall track and field student athlete, said ‘yes’ to Elmore at mid-court after a message popping the question was shown on the videoboard.

“If she said no, I was just going to pack it up and head on out of there,” Elmore said. “We weren’t playing the game. Coach gave me permission. He said, ‘you can just call it quits.’ But she said yes, and I
am very lucky.”

Despite their sluggish start, the Herd was still able to bounce back when it outscored FAU in the last six minutes to tie the game 28-28 before halftime. D’Antoni said the
defense was excellent.

“We took (FAU) out of everything they wanted to do,” he said. “Even though we are not big inside we gave up a few little bunnies, but for the most part (FAU) struggled and turned it over a lot of times. Fifteen turnovers and most of them were (FAU) trying to get it into the paint. Nice job by our (players).”

Elmore said it all started with the defense.

“We locked in defensively and held them to 28 points at the half,” he said. “Then we really locked in in the second half and made shots. So, it starts on the defensive end for us.”

Marshall sophomore guard Jarrod West led all scorers with 17 points, going 5-for-7 in field goals, 5-for-6 in free throws and 2-for-2 in 3-pointers. Freshman guard Taevion Kinsey and senior guard C.J. Burks scored 11 points each combined with Elmore’s double-double, to help the Herd
get the victory.

D’Antoni said the seniors have taken Marshall to a whole other level of play.

“We came with four-year students,” he said. “You get to see them advance the whole way. Jon and C.J. were here from the get-go. Jon a little bit late but not much. C.J., Rondale, all of them here. For me… and it is a personal thing, it is not guaranteed to where you should do it but for me that is the way college athletics should be.”

With the victory, the Herd advanced its record to 18-13 and 11-7 in C-USA play, while Florida Atlantic fell to 17-14 and 8-10 in conference play. D’Antoni said he doesn’t want to celebrate the seniors’ final home game too hard with the C-USA tournament right around the corner.

“I want to take this car right on down the road,” he said. “I think we are capable of doing that.”

Millard Stickler can be contacted at [email protected].