Marshall Men's Basketball Falls at Illinois
Freshman Jarrod West scored a game-high 23 points
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A career-high 23 points from freshman guard Jarrod West was not enough for the Marshall men’s basketball team to overcome Illinois, as it lost, 91-74, on Sunday night at the State Farm Center.
“We closed the gap to three points in the final few minutes of the first half, so we weren’t out of it yet,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We had about six free throws that we left off the table. If we make those, then everything changes. [Ajdin] Penava and [C.J.] Burks got into foul trouble early, which hurt us. We lost a lot of good players from last year, but with this group, I’m happy with what they’ve shown me what they can do.”
With the loss, Marshall fell to 2-2, while Illinois rose to 4-0.
West’s 23 points came from a near-perfect 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) from field goals, 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) from 3-pointers and 4-of-6 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line. Junior forward Ajdin Penava earned his second consecutive double-double from 15 points and 11 rebounds, while junior guard Jon Elmore added 14 points. Five different members of the Fighting Illini reached double figures in points. Both Leron Black and Kipper Nichols had 17 points for Illinois.
“West played extremely well for a kid that is playing in his fourth college game,” D’Antoni said. I thought Ajdin was the best big man on the floor. Jon [Elmore] didn’t give us his normal Jon game, but that happens from time-to-time.”
After jumping to an early 7-3 lead thanks to layups by senior forward Milan Mijovic and a combination of junior guard C.J. Burks and West 3-pointers at the 17:53 mark. From there, both sides traded baskets until the score was tied at 18-18 with 11:24 to go. The Illini then went on a 10-2 run in the next four minutes to make the score 28-20 at the 7:09 point of action.
The Herd battled back thanks to efforts of West’s five points and Elmore’s eight points to cut the Illinois’ lead to three with 3:54 to play. The Fighting Illini countered with a run of its own and made the score 46-36 at halftime.
West led Marshall with 13 points and three rebounds, while Illinois’ Da’Monte Williams had 11 points and four rebounds. Marshall shot 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) from field goals and went 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from three-point land. Illinois shot 17-of-40 (42.5 percent) from field goals and was held to 3-of-10 (30 percent) from 3-pointers. Marshall was out-scored in the paint, 22-6, and Illinois scored 14 points from Herd turnovers.
After the second half began, Illinois began with a 10-4 run with 16:35 to go. The gap was too much for the Herd to catch up to for the rest of the game, and it fell, 91-74.
“We’re still looking for that chemistry, which happens when you lose a lot of players,” D’Antoni said. “The players will learn to trust each other as the season continues. I’ve liked what I’ve seen through four games.”
Jon Elmore has now reached double figure scoring in 39 consecutive games.
It was the first time this season Jon Elmore did not reach at least 20 points and missed more than one free through in a single game.
Ajdin Penava picked up is fifth career double-double and second straight double-double.
West’s five 3-pointers were career-highs.
Marshall is now 2-1 when it connects on at least 10 3-pointers.
Marshall allowed five opposing players to reach double figure scoring in the second straight contest.
Ajdin Penava has now made at least two 3-pointers in every game this season.
Marshall will return home to the Henderson Center to take on N.C. Central on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m.
For all the latest information about Marshall men's basketball, follow @HerdMBB on Twitter and Instagram