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Herd's Comeback Falls Short at UAB

March 1, 2018

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A 21-point deficit was too much for the Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball team to overcome, as it suffered a 91-77 defeat to the UAB Blazers on Thursday evening at the Bartow Arena.

“We have to be better and focused,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Ajdin Penava didn’t have any rebounds at halftime. We aren’t going to win many games if he can’t get in there and hold it down and be competitive. C.J. didn’t have a good first half, either. Those two have to play at a higher level. I thought Jon had a great game. We had a big surprise from Darius George today. He was great. I thought Rondale Watson had a great game. We just need to get better and push the ball.”

With the loss, the Herd dropped to 20-10 (11-6 C-USA), while the Blazers improved to 18-12 (9-8 C-USA).

Junior guard Jon Elmore scored a game-high 28 points, pulled down four rebounds and collected three assists, while freshman forward Darius George scored a career-high 17 points. UAB’s Chris Cokely scored a team-high 23 points, while William Lee collected a double-double from 15 points and 14 rebounds.

“Darius and Jannson (Williams) played well,” D’Antoni said. “They blocked shots and played well.”

Marshall trailed for much of the game after UAB began the game with a 10-0 start. The Blazers kept the Herd away at arm’s length and even took a 12-point lead when it went up, 22-10, with 13:05 remaining in the first half.

From there, Marshall battled back. The Herd went on a 17-6 run to trail by only one point with 7:13 left on the clock. The comeback was led by Marshall making five 3-pointers and one slam dunk.

The Herd finally completed the comeback at the 4:44 mark when Elmore made a layup to give it a 32-31 lead. The two sides exchanged baskets for the remainder of the half, but UAB went on a 4-0 run with less than a minute left to take a 41-37 lead at halftime.

“We let them off the hook,” D’Antoni said. “We let them have those last four buckets and Jon missed an open layup. We should have kept that lead going into halftime. We have to toughen up if we want to get better. Right now, we’ll see what we did and see if we can get more tournament ready.”

Marshall finished the first half making 13-of-32 (40.6 percent) of its field goals, 8-of-20 (40 percent) of its shots from behind the arc and 3-of-6 (50 percent) of its free throws. Elmore led the way with 15 points from 50 percent shooting and 3-of-6 made three-pointers, while he and Burks dished out three assists. UAB’s Zach Bryant scored a team-high nine points.

The Herd tied the game up at 44-44 with 17:57 left in the second half after Elmore, Burks and freshman Jarrod West made buckets, but the Blazers went on a 10-point run at the 15:38 mark. UAB carried the momentum forward and jumped to a 67-46 lead with 12:52 left after making three consecutive 3-pointers and a pair of layups.

The Herd battled back and cut it to a seven-point game when Elmore drilled back-to-back shots from behind the arc to make it 78-71, Blazers, with 4:18 left in the game, but it was not enough.

Marshall finished the game shooting 43.8 percent (28-of-64) from the field, 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) from behind the arc and 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from the free throw line.

The Herd will close out the regular season when it travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee on Saturday, March 3, at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted by Stadium.

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