Morehead State's Second Half Rally Sinks Marshall
Jon Elmore finished with a game-high 27 points and nine assists; Ajdin Penava finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds
MOREHEAD, Ky. – A second half comeback from Morehead State sank the Marshall men’s basketball team, 86-83, on Thursday evening at the Johnson Arena.
With the loss, the Herd fell to 2-1, while the Eagles rose to 1-2. Junior guard Jon Elmore had a game-high 27 points and nine assists, while junior forward Ajdin Penava finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high six blocks for his fourth career double-double. Morehead State’s A.J. Hicks led the Eagles with 17 points and seven dimes, while four other players scored at least 10 points for MSU.
“Those 18 offensive rebounds and 49 total rebounds tell the whole story,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “They beat us up inside and had 17 second chance points. This has to be the curse of Ellis Johnson, because we haven’t recognized him as a coach of Marshall. They recognize him here, so he must be paying me back.”
Morehead State limited Marshall to zero fast break points and four second chance points, while it scored 42 points in the pain and 21 points from the bench.
“I thought they played hard. I’m taking nothing away from them, because they are well-coached,” D’Antoni said. “Ajdin Penava had a good game. Jon Elmore hasn’t shot the ball well all season, but he’ll eventually get going. It’s a long season. I had dreams of winning them all, but it wasn’t meant to be. We’ll get better. We always have since I’ve been here.
“Penava had 10 rebounds and had to do it with four opposing players in the paint. The next-best guy for us had three rebounds. That has to change going forward.”
Both sides exchanged buckets for the opening 12 minutes, with both sides tied at 26-26 with 8:00 to go in the first half. The 26 points from the Herd came from the efforts of Elmore, freshman guard West, Penava and sophomore Phil Bledsoe. Junior forward Dani Koljanin also contributed with a career-high nine points.
Marshall managed to pull away in the final minutes and jumped to a seven-point lead after Elmore connected with freshman Jannson Williams for the alley-oop to make the score 40-33. Elmore led the Herd the rest of the way and made five free throws to make the score 44-39 at halftime.
The Herd finished the first period shooting 14-of-29 (48.3 percent) from the field, 4-of-12 (33.3 percent) from three-point land and 12-of-15 (80 percent) from the free throw line. Marshall held Morehead State to 15-of-36 (41.7 percent) from field goals, but the Eagles capitalized on 13 offensive rebounds and had 13 second chance points.
The first 10 minutes of the second half comprised of Marshall stopping Morehead State’s comeback, but the Eagles tied things up at 58-58 at the 9:09 mark. From there, both sides traded baskets until a pair of free throws gave Morehead State the 68-67 lead with 5:25 to go.
The Eagles did not let Marshall tie things up for the rest of the game, while the Herd attempted a comeback of its own in the final minute, but it fell sort.
The Herd finished the game shooting 27-of-59 (45.8 percent) from field goals, 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from three-pointers and 22-of-30 (73.3 percent) at the free throw line. After finishing the first half with zero points, junior guard C.J. Burks had 11 in the second half.
- Jon Elmore had his third consecutive game of reaching 20 points this season.
- Elmore has now scored at least 10 points in 38 straight games.
- Ajdin Penava’s six blocks were a career-high.
- Jarrod West’s five steals were a career-high.
- Dani Koljanin’s nine-points were a career-high.
- J. Burks went scoreless in a half for the first time tis season.
- It was the fourth double-double of Penava’s career.
- Marshall is now 0-1 when failing to make at least 10 three-pointers.
- Jon Elmore’s nine assists were a season-high.
Marshall will stay on the road and travel to Champaign Ill., to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini on Sunday, Nov. 19, at the State Farm Center.