MCGILL: Elmore Brothers Shine in Rout of Charlotte
The Word on the Herd
By Chuck McGill
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – It was a historic night for Jon Elmore, but what he did is not as important to him as who was on the court alongside him.
The Elmore brothers – Jon and Ot – started together for the first time as Marshall men’s basketball players, and combined to score their team’s first 14 points in a lopsided 103-75 Senior Night win against Charlotte on Saturday at the Henderson Center. Both players tied their career high in points – Jon scored 38 and Ot finished with 6 – and traded 3-pointers to start the game. Jon set a career high with nine 3-pointers. Ot set a career high with four assists.
Their combined stat line: 44 points, 15 of 22 shooting, 11 of 17 from 3-point range, 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Marshall (20-9, 11-5 Conference USA) outscored Charlotte (5-22, 1-15 C-USA) 43-26 with the Elmores on the floor at the same time.
“That was the most fun I’ve had playing basketball in a long time,” said Jon Elmore, a junior guard. “Had my brother out there with me; (he) hit a couple 3s. The atmosphere was great and we sent the seniors out the right way. I wouldn’t trade any of these memories for the world.”
Jon Elmore connected on the first 3-pointer to open scoring. Ot Elmore answered with a 3 of his own to jumpstart a 19-0 run over a stretch of 4:11. Jon Elmore made his second 3-pointer to make it 9-2, and then Ot Elmore drained another from long range to make it 12-2.
“They were doing something that Mike and I always wanted to do,” Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni said, referring to his brother. “They can always talk about that.”
Jon Elmore added two free throws to make it 14-2, with all of the Herd’s points coming from the Mountain State siblings.
“It was awesome getting to play with Jon and hitting a couple of shots,” said Ot Elmore, a senior. “It couldn’t have turned out better than it did.”
Ot Elmore played 18 minutes and doubled his career assist total from four to eight. Ot Elmore’s first 3-pointer helped his younger brother make Herd hoops history.
Jon Elmore entered Saturday’s game with 199 assists on the season, and when he found his older brother for a 3-pointer to make it 6-2, he became the first player in program history with multiple seasons of 600 or more points and multiple seasons of 200 or more assists.
That was just the beginning of Jon Elmore’s attack on the Marshall and Conference USA record books. His 38 points pushed his career total to 1,727, which moved him past Leo Byrd (1,696) and George Stone (1,723) to move into eighth place on the Herd’s all-time scoring list.
Jon Elmore passed four names on the C-USA all-time scoring list: Marquette’s Travis Diener (1,691), Southern Mississippi’s Jeremy Wise (1,691), UCF’s Keith Clanton (1,718) and Louisiana Tech’s Alex Hamilton (1,722) to move into No. 13 on the conference’s career points leaderboard.
Jon Elmore finished 9 of 12 from 3-point range, the seventh time in school history and the eighth time in C-USA games only a player has hit as many 3s in a single game. It vaulted Elmore up Marshall’s career 3-point list, surpassing Joda Burgess for fourth all-time. Elmore has 213 career 3-pointers, trailing Austin Loop, Tamar Slay and Keith Veney.
Marshall had plenty of star performances in Saturday’s 28-point win. Freshman forward Darius George came off the bench, hit all six of his shots and finished with a career high 13 points in only 10 minutes. Junior guard C.J. Burks scored 16 points, moving from No. 40 to No. 37 on the program’s career scoring list. Junior forward Ajdin Penava finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Overall, Marshall shot 54.2 percent from the field (39 for 72), 42.1 percent from 3-point range (16 for 38) and 69.2 percent from the foul line (9 for 13). It was the fourth game of 100 or more points for the Herd this season.
Jon Elmore lifted the crowd of 6,575 on their feet when he pushed Marshall across the 100-point threshold with his ninth and final 3-pointer with 1:52 left of the second half.
Then, the Elmore brothers found their way to the postgame press conference and sat side by side. Ot Elmore was asked what Charlotte’s scouting report might have been on him, and he said the 49ers probably thought he couldn’t shoot. Laughs ensued.
“I really hadn’t made a shot all year,” Ot Elmore said. “I was 0 for 3 down there. The first couple (shots) I was in front of their bench and I heard them yelling ‘Let him shoot, let him shoot.’ I thought, thank God, I don’t have to work for this one.”
The 3-pointers were Ot Elmore’s sixth and seventh of his two-year Herd career in the final regular season home game of his collegiate career.
“Great family,” D’Antoni said. “I’m happy for the family.”
NOTES: Marshall has 20 overall wins and 10 conference wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1986-87 and 1987-88 … Marshall tied a school record for wins at the Henderson Center in a season with 15 (1983-84 and 2009-10) … The Herd made at least 16 3-pointers for the 12th time in school history; six have come in D’Antoni’s four seasons at the helm … Jon Elmore has scored in double figures in 64 consecutive games and scored 30 or more points eight times … By reaching 200 assists for the year, Jon Elmore recorded the fifth such season in Herd hoops history. Mike D’Antoni accomplished the feat twice and Cornelius Jackson did it once … Burks reached double figures for the 30th consecutive game.