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Second Chance Points, Offensive Rebounds Sink Herd at UTSA

Feb. 1, 2018

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SAN ANTONIO – Junior guard Jon Elmore connected on a season-high five shots from behind the arc and scored 23 points, but it was not enough for the Marshall men’s basketball team to complete the comeback against the UTSA Roadrunners in an 81-77 defeat at the Convocation Center on Thursday night.

“I was embarrassed about our performance,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We weren’t ready. They fought hard and we didn’t. There’s no reason for that. It is what it is. We have to pull it back. We’ll work on that (Friday). Certainly, that was not our best effort.”

With the loss, the Herd fell to 14-8 (5-4 Conference USA), while the Roadrunners improved to 12-11 (5-5 C-USA). UTSA’s won the battles in second chance points (18-5), offensive rebounds (20-4) and points off of turnovers (17-10)

“It shouldn’t have been close,” D’Antoni said. “We weren’t ready to play. When we got off the bus yesterday, we didn’t practice well. We didn’t come to the game. Our assistant coaches got on our players during warmups because they didn’t warmup like they were supposed to.”

To go with Elmore’s 23 points, he also pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds. Junior forward Ajdin Penava added 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four blocks, while junior guard C.J. Burks scored 16 points to move his career points mark to 987. The Roadrunners’ Jhivvan Jackson scored a team-high 23 points.

“No matter how old I get, this will always light me up,” D’Antoni said. “I can take a lot of things. I can take missed shots, but I can’t take a lack of focus. We have to reevaluate things. It’s just one game. You don’t want to throw away a season over a game. Rest assured, I won’t let them forget how they played tonight.”

In a contest featuring the top offensive teams in the league, it featured six lead changes in the first half alone. After sophomore Phil Bledsoe scored five straight points to give the Herd a 39-38 lead with 1:39 left to go in the first half, UTSA went on a run of its own. The Roadrunners scored six straight points, but freshman Jarrod West made a layup in the clutch to cut Marshall’s deficit to 43-41 at halftime.

Elmore and Penava led the way for Marshall at the half with 10 points and four assists. Penava shot 4-of-5 from the field, while Elmore connected on a team-high two shots from behind the arc. Penava also added five rebounds. Jackson scored a team-high nine points for UTSA.​

The Herd spent most of the second half trying to erase the deficit, but finally reached its goal when Elmore drilled a three-pointer to give Marshall a 77-75 lead with 2:18 to go, but UTSA’s Keaton Wallace made a three for the go-ahead basket. The Herd had several chances in the waning minutes, but could not capitalize, while the Roadrunners completed a 6-0 run.

Marshall will continue the Texas two-step and take on the UTEP Miners on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 9 p.m. ET.

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