Second Half Surge Helps Herd Prevail Over Charlotte
Burks, Elmore and Watson combined for 43 of the Herd’s 51 second half points
CHARLOTTE – A shorthanded Marshall men’s basketball team scored 51 points in the second half to defeat the Charlotte 49ers, 91-83, on Thursday, Jan. 11, at Halton Arena.
“We never thought this was going to be easy, because we didn’t have Ajdin Penava or Darius George, so our bigs are thin,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We had a lot of lineups we haven’t seen this year. We were scrambling really. We were really trying to feel out we were going to put our roster out there. One time I looked out there it was all-mini versions of me on the court. They didn’t beat us on the inside and we got the win.”
With the win, Marshall improved to 12-5 (3-1 in Conference USA), while Charlotte fell to 5-10 (1-3 in C-USA). It gave Marshall a 1-0 start on the road in league play for the third consecutive year.
Junior guard C.J. Burks scored a career-high 32 points, dished out two assists and pulled down seven rebounds. Junior guard Rondale Watson tied his career high of 20 points, while junior guard Jon Elmore added 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Freshman forward Jannson Williams, who made his first career start, added seven points and four rebounds, while he had a career-high three blocks. Charlotte’s Jon Davis scored a game-high 38 points.
“C.J. Burks really came on in the second half,” D’Antoni said. “We missed a ton of layups in the first half. If C.J. made all of those, he may have 50 points tonight. That wasn’t our best team that played. We have to make sure we are ready to play every game. We have a tough game coming up on Saturday.”
After a floater by Burks tied the game at 14-14 with 13:29 left of the first half, Marshall went on a 13-2 over the next three minutes to give Marshall a 27-16 lead at the 10:15 mark. Watson led the way with five points, while Williams, Burks sophomore forward Phil Bledsoe and senior forward Milan Mijovic all added baskets.
From there, Charlotte went on a 16-5 run to tie the game at 32-32, thanks to Davis, who had 23 points in the first half. Marshall settled down and took a 40-38 lead into halftime.
Marshall finished the opening half shooting 14-of-36 (38.9 percent), 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) from three-pointers and a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. Burks and Elmore led the way with a combined 23 points.
The Herd started the second half hot, thanks to Elmore and Burks combining for 15 of Marshall’s first 16 points of the half to make the score 56-44 with 16:17 to go. Charlotte went on a run and cut the Herd’s lead to three points at the 14:04 mark. The combination of Watson and Burks scored 11 points to make it 67-57 with 11:23 left in regulation. Charlotte attempted to battle back, but never cut the deficit to fewer than seven points.
“Any time you go on the road and get a win, it’s a good win,” D’Antoni said. “We got into foul trouble and sometime you have to step up. We pulled this off and stepped up.”
Burks scored 19 of his 32 points and Watson scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half. Bledsoe pulled down a season-high five rebounds.
Marshall shot 18-of-31 (58.1 percent) from field goals, 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) from three-pointers and 10-of-13 from the free throw line.
The Herd will stay on the road and will travel to Norfolk, Va., to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday, Jan. 13. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.
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